Killer Quake Rocks Afghanistan

KABUL (AP) - Two earthquakes shook eastern Afghanistan early
Friday, killing at least 19 people and destroying dozens of homes,
officials said.

The quakes destroyed an estimated 100 houses in two villages in
Nangarhar province, said governor's spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai.
The provincial police chief, Ghafor Khan, said at least 19 people
were killed and 20 injured.

One villager said the death toll was considerably higher.
Officials were traveling to the site.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Nangarhar province was hit by
two earthquakes - a 5.5 magnitude quake at about 2 a.m., and a 5.1
magnitude aftershock two hours later.

Khan said two villages suffered the most damage - Sargad Kheil
and Khodi Kheil, both in Sherzad district, about 50 miles (90
kilometers) east of Kabul.

A villager in Sherzad, Shah Mohammad Khan, told The Associated
Press that 40 people were killed and 60 wounded, but government
officials did not confirm those figures.

Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountain range is hit by dozens of
minor earthquakes each year. Many Afghan homes are made of dried
mud, so even moderate earthquakes can cause many deaths and major
damage to infrastructure.

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