Scores injured as powerful quake jolts Afghanistan, Pakistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – A 6.3-magnitude earthquake centered in the Hindu Kush jolted Afghanistan and Pakistan, damaging homes and leaving dozens of people injured just two months after a killer quake rattled the same mountainous region.

The tremor on late Friday, December 25, hit at a depth of 203.5 kilometers (126 miles), the US Geological Survey said, sending people fleeing shaking buildings into a bitterly cold night and prompting fears of aftershocks.

The epicenter of the quake, which was felt as far away as New Delhi, was in the remote Afghan province of Badakhshan, close to the Pakistani and Tajik borders.

A pregnant woman was killed when a boulder fell on her house in Peshawar and up to 50 others were left injured in the northwestern Pakistani city, officials said.

Initial information suggested at least 45 houses were damaged in Badakhshan where communication with remote, mountainous villages is typically slow, and 12 people were injured in the Afghan province of Nangarhar.

USGS had initially reported the quake's magnitude at 6.2.

In October, a 7.5-magnitude quake in the same region ripped across Pakistan and Afghanistan, killing nearly 400 people and flattening buildings in rugged terrain.

For many in Pakistan, October's quake brought back traumatic memories of a 7.6-magnitude quake that struck in October 2005, killing more than 75,000 people and displacing some 3.5 million.

Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

In Nepal, a quake in April and a strong aftershock in May killed more than 8,900 people. –