Afghanistan earthquake: Taliban appeals for aid as death toll surpasses 1,000

·2-min read
The earthquake has killed over 1,000 people (AP)
The earthquake has killed over 1,000 people (AP)

The Taliban has appealed for further international aid following a devastating earthquake which has killed more than 1,000 people in Afghanistan.

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the mountainous eastern region of the country, near to the city of Khost on Wednesday.

Officials said the death toll had reached 1,000 but expected the number to rise as more information comes through from the remote regions of the state.

Such is the devastation in the country, that Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, the head of the information and culture department in Paktika, said: “People are digging grave after grave.”

He also warned many remain trapped underneath rubble while footage released by the Taliban showed residents digging a long trench to bury the dead.

The earthquake is the deadliest to hit the country since 2002 and comes when many foreign aid agencies have left the country after the Taliban returned to power last year.

Afghanistan has also been crippled by sanctions imposed by the West.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a senior Taliban official, added: “The government sadly is under sanctions so it is financially unable to assist the people to the extent that is needed.

“The assistance needs to be scaled up to a very large extent because this is a devastating earthquake which hasn’t been experienced in decades.”

A doctor, in the Paktika region, said medical workers were among the some of the victims of the earthquake impacting a health system which was already struggling.

The medic told the BBC: “We didn’t have enough people and facilities before the earthquake, and now the earthquake has ruined the little we had.

"I don’t know how many of our colleagues are still alive.”

The United Nations aid agency, the British Red Cross and Medicines Sans Frontieres have also said they are liaising with the Taliban government in order to send supplies into the state.

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