The Cradle
Hundreds dead after earthquake hits Afghanistan
Ahead of the natural disaster, Afghanistan was already experiencing an acute humanitarian disaster as a result of a US-led economic blockade
By News Desk - June 22 2022
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Paktika province. (Photo credit: US army)

Nearly one thousand people died after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan early on 22 June, leaving over 600 wounded.

The quake hit 44 kilometers from the city of Khost near the Pakistani border, according to data from the US Geological Survey (USGC).

Officials expect the death and injury toll to rise as information trickles in from remote villages.

Most of the confirmed deaths were in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Paktika, Interior Ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi said.

“I have tragic reports from my native Paktika province, where hundreds of people have been killed and wounded in the devastating earthquakes. Homes are destroyed, and people are under the rubble,” Khalid Zadran, a police spokesman in the capital Kabul, said in a tweet.

Authorities say they launched a rescue operation, while helicopters were used to reach the injured and deliver medical supplies and food.

Zadran also released footage of Taliban officials leaving Kabul for Paktika with aid.

The earthquake was felt by about 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) announced.

This disaster comes just as Afghanistan is facing a severe humanitarian crisis caused by western sanctions, as well as a US-led cut in billions of dollars worth of development aid.

After the Taliban consolidated power in Kabul, defeating the US-trained Afghan army, Washington moved to freeze nearly $10 billion of the country’s foreign reserves.

Joe Biden then ordered that half of those reserves be used to pay the families of the victims of the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Last month, the UN revealed that nearly 20 million Afghans – nearly half of the country’s population – are facing acute levels of hunger in the aftermath of the 20-year military invasion of the country.

“The impact of high food prices, sanctions on de facto authorities, unemployment and a significant decline in incomes and community purchasing power are the main impediments to an improvement in the post-harvest situation,” said Richard Trenchard, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in the country.