The death toll in the earthquake that struck Afghanistan on Wednesday morning reached nearly 1000, said media reports.
A severe earthquake struck in the early hours of this morning near the city of Khost in the southeastern part of the country. The most affected areas are in Spera District in Khost Province, and Barmala, Ziruk, Naka and Gayan districts in Paktika Province.
"We have over 1,000 dead and over 1,500 wounded. Many villages were destroyed," Amin Huzaifa, the head of the culture and information department of the Paktika province, told Sputnik.
The head of the Paktika department of information and culture, Mawlawi Huzifa, told TOLO news that the earthquake occurred around 1:30 AM last night. He said that many of the victims are from the Giyan district of the province.
According to local officials, helicopter and rescue teams have arrived in the area.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said that an emergency cabinet meeting was held today to discuss assistance for the people affected by the earthquake.
"In addition to helping the people affected by the earthquake, all relevant organizations were tasked to send rescue teams," he said.
Abdullah Abdullah, the former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation offered condolences to the people affected by the earthquake, the ANI report said.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicentre was 44km from Khost city, and it measured 6.1 on the Richter scale. Search and rescue operations are ongoing and are being led by the de facto authorities.