Casualties feared in Afghan quakes: officials
Casualties were feared in Afghanistan today after several village houses collapsed as two earthquakes shook the country's mountainous Hindu Kush region, officials said.
Around 20 houses were destroyed in a landslide caused by the tremors in Burka district, in the northern province of Baghlan, the head of Afghanistan's natural disaster department Samim Afzali told AFP.
"There are some unconfirmed reports of casualties and we have sent a team to the area," he said.
The Baghlan provincial government spokesman, Mahmood Ahmad, said houses had been damaged in three districts -- Burka, Jelga, and Nehrin -- and casualties were feared.
Another 10 houses had been destroyed in Ishkamish district in neighbouring Takhar province, Afzali said, but no fatalities had so far been reported from that area.
The first quake, with a magnitude of 5.4, struck at 1030 IST at a depth of 48 kilometres with the epicentre around 160 kilometres southwest of the town of Faizabad, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
Around 25 minutes later the second quake hit in almost exactly the same place, with a magnitude of 5.6 and a depth of 31 kilometres, according to the USGS.
Buildings were felt shaking slightly in Kabul, around 170 kilometres to the south, during both quakes.
Northern Afghanistan and Pakistan are frequently hit by earthquakes, especially around the Hindu Kush range, which lies near the collision of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
A 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Pakistan in October 2005 killed 74,000 people and displaced 3.5 million.