Earthquake Kills 22 in Afghanistan

An earthquake struck western Afghanistan on Monday, killing at least 22 people and injuring several others. The epicenter of the magnitude 5.3 quake was about 40 kilometers east of Qala-e-Naw, the capital of Badghis province, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Afghan official Bakhtar News Agency quoted local authorities as saying that women and children were among the victims. The death toll was expected to increase. Most of the casualties and damage occurred in Qadis district, where the roofs of many residential houses collapsed. Poverty-stricken Afghanistan frequently experiences earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. The South Asian nation is already in the grip of humanitarian crisis stemming from years of war, natural disasters and a prolonged drought. The crisis has deteriorated since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August on the heels of the withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces after 20 years. Information from AFP was used in this report.

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