Earthquake in Afghanistan Kills at Least 255 Near Khost, Officials Say

KABUL, Afghanistan — A 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck southeastern Afghanistan overnight, killing 255 people, the country’s state-run Bakhtar news agency said on Wednesday.

The quake struck about 28 miles southwest of the city of Khost, a provincial capital in the country’s southeast, the United States Geological Survey said. The quake struck early Wednesday morning at a depth of about six miles, the agency said.

Raees Hozaifa, the director of information and culture in the eastern province of Paktika, said the earthquake had affected several provinces, and that death toll in Paktika alone was at least 250 people.

“We have 250 bodies, around 150 wounded,” he said, adding that more than 100 homes had been destroyed across four districts of the province. A rescue effort was underway, he said.

The quake struck about 300 miles north-northeast of the site of a deadly 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Pakistan in 2008, the U.S.G.S. said.

The earthquake on Wednesday was felt in Kabul, the Afghan capital, and across the northern part of neighboring Pakistan, according to a map that the European Mediterranean Seismological Center posted on its website. The U.S.G.S. said that a second, 4.5 magnitude quake struck about 30 miles southwest of Khost about an hour later.

For civilians in Afghanistan, earthquakes are yet another risk in a country traumatized by decades of war.

In January, two earthquakes struck a remote, mountainous area of western Afghanistan, killing at least 27 people and destroying hundreds of homes, officials said at the time.

This is a developing story.

Safiullah Padshah reported from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Mike Ives from Seoul.

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