At least 1,000 people were killed and more than 1,500 people were reportedly injured after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan early yesterday. The quake struck roughly 30 miles from the city of Khost, which lies along the border with Pakistan (see map). Officials expect the death toll to increase as search and rescue efforts proceed.
Despite being only a moderately strong seismic event—more than 100 earthquakes between 6.0 and 7.0 occur globally each year—it was Afghanistan’s deadliest quake in two decades. Damage was most severe in the surrounding mountainous rural areas, where poorly built structures are particularly susceptible. The disaster is expected to strain the Taliban government, already dealing with economic collapse and famine, following the withdrawal of US forces last summer.