Taliban officials, residents take stock of Afghan quake damage

Earthquake survivors recovered bodies and struggled to come to grips with their loss and Taliban officials surveyed the aftermath of a massive earthquake which has killed at least 1 000, footage broadcast by local media showed on Thursday.

The 6.1 magnitude quake on Wednesday left more than 1 500 injured and authorities were bracing for casualty numbers to grow as information trickles in from remote mountain villages.

Houses were reduced to rubble and bodies swathed in blankets lay on the ground in the wake of the disaster.

Wednesday’s quake was the deadliest in Afghanistan since 2002. It struck about 44 km from the southeastern city of Khost, near the border with Pakistan, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Mounting a rescue operation will prove a major test for the hardline Taliban authorities, who took over the country last August after two decades of war and have been cut off from much international assistance because of sanctions.

The Taliban-led ministry of defence is leading rescue efforts.

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