Afghanistan earthquake kills hundreds: Tremors hit Pakistan

A powerful earthquake that struck Afghanistan early Wednesday killed at least 1,000 people and wounded more than 1,500 others, officials said, per the state run Bakhtar NewsAgency.

Driving the news: The magnitude 5.9 quake struck some 27 miles from the city of Khōst in southeastern Afghanistan, per the US Geological Survey (USGS). The casualties occurred in the provinces of Khōst and Paktika, near the Pakistan border, officials said.

  • The USGS originally reported that it was a “remarkable” 6.1 magnitude quake, which also shook parts of Pakistan.

What they’re saying: “Unfortunately, last night there was a severe earthquake in four districts of Paktika province, which killed and injured hundreds of our countrymen and destroyed dozens of houses,” tweeted Bilal Karimi, a spokesperson for the ruling Taliban, per a BBC translation.

  • “We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe,” he added.

The big pictures: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned last week that since the Taliban reclaimed the country last August after the US ended its military presence there it “has been plunged into a deep economic, social, humanitarian and human rights crisis.”

  • 93% of all households faced “a high level of food insecurity with differential, devastating impact on those most vulnerable,” Bachelet said in an update to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
  • Access to basic services has also diminished, with the World Health Organization estimating 18.1 million people were in need of health services, per Bachelet.

Editor’s note: This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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