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More than 1,000 killed as powerful quake strikes Afghanistan

AID agencies have been called on to help in an emergency appeal with more than 1,000 people killed and many more missing after an earthquake struck south-eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday night.

The powerful 6.1 magnitude quake was also felt in some parts of Pakistan with casualties reported in the Afghan city of Khost and the Barmala, Ziruk, Naka, and Gayan districts of Paktika province.

Local officials say the death toll could rise if the central government does not provide emergency help. Well over 1,500 people have been injured.

Taliban government spokesman Bilal Karimi said: “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.”

“We call on aid agencies to provide immediate relief to the victims of the earthquake to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe,” he added. 

Afghanistan is already facing a humanitarian catastrophe with the UN warning that one million children face severe malnutrition while millions face starvation due to a food crisis. 

But the Taliban government has struggled to cope following the United States’ seizure of some $7 billion (£5.7bn) of the country’s assets, which it seeks to divide among families of the September 11 terror attacks. 

The death toll was likely to rise after the Morning Star went to print.

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