At least 26 people have been killed after an earthquake hit western Afghanistan, an official said.
The victims died when roofs of their houses collapsed on Monday in Qadis district in the western province of Badghis, spokesman for the province Baz Mohammad Sarwary told news agencies.
The shallow earthquake was magnitude 5.3, according to the US Geological Survey.
“Five women and four children are among the 26 people killed in the earthquake,” said Sarwary, adding that four more people were injured.
He said the first rescuers have arrived at some of the affected areas under heavy rain, but warned that the number of casualties could increase as Badghis, bordering Turkmenistan, is a mountainous province and one of Afghanistan’s most impoverished and underdeveloped regions.
A second quake, at magnitude 4.9, struck the area two hours after the first.
Mullah Janan Saeqe, head of the Emergency Operations Centre of the Ministry of State for Emergency Affairs, confirmed the death toll and said more than 700 houses had been damaged.
The earthquake also inflicted damage on the residents of Muqr district in the province but details, including casualties, were still unavailable, he said.
Sarwary said the tremors were felt across the province. Some homes in Qala-e-Naw, the provincial capital, suffered cracks but no major injuries or widespread damage, he added.
According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, the quake was at a depth of 30km (18.64 miles).