Earthquake hits eastern Afghanistan: up to 280 feared dead

The earthquake hit at 1:24 am about 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) southwest of the city of Khost, which lies close to the country’s border with Pakistan, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The quake registered at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to USGS.

Casualties were reported in the Barmal, Zirok, Nika and Giyan districts of Paktika province, with more than 600 injured, according to Bakhtar.

Local officials and residents have warned that the death toll is likely to rise, according to Bakhar. CNN is unable to independently confirm Bakhtar’s reporting.

Photos from Paktika province, just south of Khost province, show destroyed houses with only a wall or two still standing amid the rubble, and broken roof beams.

USGS assigned the quake a yellow alert level, indicating some casualties are possible and that the impact should be relatively localized. Full casualty figures are not yet clear.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the World Health Organization said its teams were on the ground for emergency response, including providing medicine, trauma services and conducting needs assessments.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended his condolences and an offer of support in a tweet on Wednesday. “Deeply grieved to learn about the earthquake in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of innocent lives,” he wrote. “People in Pakistan share the grief and sorrow of their Afghan brethren. Relevant authorities are working to support Afghanistan in this time of need.”

This is a developing story.

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