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Over 300 Dead, Thousands Injured in Afghan-Pakistan Earthquake

Over 300 Dead, Thousands Injured in Afghan-Pakistan Earthquake

A man carries a boy, who was injured in an earthquake, at the Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan October 26, 2015. A powerful earthquake struck a remote area of northeastern Afghanistan on Monday, shaking the capital Kabul, as shockwaves were felt in northern India and in Pakistan's capital, where hundreds of people ran out of buildings as the ground rolled beneath them. | (Photo: Reuters/Khuram Parvez)
A boy, who was injured during an earthquake, receives first aid at the Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan October 27, 2015. The Taliban urged aid agencies on Tuesday to push ahead in delivering emergency supplies to victims of the massive earthquake that hit remote mountainous regions of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan. With harsh winter weather setting in across the rugged Hindu Kush mountains where the earthquake struck, the plight of thousands of people left homeless by the earthquake was becoming increasingly serious. However the relief effort is being complicated by unstable security caused by the Taliban insurgency, which has made large parts of the affected areas unsafe for international organisations and government troops. | (Photo: Reuters/Fayaz Aziz)
Map of Afghanistan locating the epicenter of a strong earthquake that killed dozens of people on Monday. | (Photo: Reuters/Map)
Vehicles jam the road after a flyover was briefly closed to vehicular traffic for precautionary measures following an earthquake in Srinagar October 26, 2015. A powerful earthquake struck a remote area of northeastern Afghanistan on Monday, shaking the capital Kabul with shockwaves being felt in northern India and in Pakistan, where hundreds of people ran out of buildings as the ground rolled beneath them. | (Photo: Reuters/Danish Ismail)
Army soldiers load sacks of food aid on a helicopter, to distribute in earthquake stricken areas in Peshawar, Pakistan October 27, 2015. The Taliban urged aid agencies on Tuesday to push ahead in delivering emergency supplies to victims of the massive earthquake that hit remote mountainous regions of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing at least 300 people. With harsh winter weather setting in across the rugged Hindu Kush mountains where the earthquake struck, the plight of thousands of people left homeless by the earthquake was becoming increasingly serious. However the relief effort is being complicated by unstable security caused by the Taliban insurgency, which has made large parts of the affected areas unsafe for international organisations and government troops. The words on the sack reads in Urdu, "A gift from the Pakistan Army." | (Photo: Reuters/Khuram Parvez)
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A 7.5-magnitude earthquake on Monday has left over 300 people dead and at least 2,000 injured in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the Taliban terror group reportedly asking aid agencies for help.

BBC News reported on Tuesday that that rescue teams are still trying to get to remote mountainous areas in the region and assess its impact, dealing with blocked roads and cut off communication. Many people have also chosen to sleep outside in near freezing temperatures because of fears of a second quake.

The Taliban, which is active in regions across Pakistan and Afghanistan, called on international aid agencies to help the victims, and asked its soldiers to offer assistance as well.

"The Islamic Emirate calls on our good willed countrymen and charitable organizations to not hold back in providing shelter, food and medical supplies to the victims of this earthquake," the Taliban said in a message of condolence to quake victims, Reuters reported.

"And it similarly orders its mujahideen in the affected areas to lend their complete help," it added.

Abdul Habib Sayed Khil, chief of police in Kunar, one of the worst-hit provinces, said that it is hard for aid groups to reach such areas, however.

"We have insufficient food and other aid," Khil said. "It has been raining for four days and the weather is very cold. If we don't provide aid very soon it may turn to another disaster."

Arif Noor, the Pakistan director for the aid group Mercy Corps, added: "Many villages in normal circumstances are one or two hours from proper roads."

He continued: "As you can imagine, reaching those people and helping them out is going to be a major challenge."

CNN noted the epicenter of the quake was in northeastern Afghanistan, but the greatest damage was reported in Pakistan, where at least 229 people were killed.

Noor explained that the quake-hit areas in Pakistan were more densely populated, leading to more deaths.

At least 12 schoolgirls who died in a stampede were among the 76 casualties reported so far in Afghanistan, said the country's chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah.

The White House has said it is ready to provide help in the relief efforts.

"We offer our deepest condolences to those who have been affected by the earthquake in Afghanistan and Pakistan," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest at a daily news conference.

"We stand ready to provide any assistance that is needed," he added.

The region has been hard-hit by powerful earthquakes in the past, with a 7.6- magnitude quake in Kashmir in 2005 leaving over 75,000 people dead.

Back in April of this year, a 7.8-magnitude quake in Nepal killed over 9,000 people, with India and Bangladesh also suffering casualties.

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