6.2 earthquake hits northeastern Afghanistan

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit a remote and mountainous area of northeast Afghanistan on Tuesday morning, shaking buildings in the capital and as far away as Pakistan, Tajikistan and India.

The earthquake in Badakhshan province was about 300 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of the capital, Kabul, where residents felt shaking buildings and some windows were shattered. There were no immediate casualty reports.

"It was a very strong earthquake," said Agha Noor Kemtoz, the provincial police chief of Badakhshan, which shares a border with Pakistan, Tajikistan and China. "My room was shaking and the light was swinging back and forth."

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.2-quake was centered 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of the provincial capital Faizabad and hit at 8:05 a.m. (0335 GMT).

Damage reports from northeastern Afghanistan are often slow to trickle in because of the region's remoteness and a lack of communication facilities.

The quake was felt across northern Pakistan, including in the capital Islamabad, 450 kilometers (280 miles) away. It was also felt in Tajikistan and in the Indian and Pakistan-administered portions of Kashmir, where a severe earthquake in October 2005 left tens of thousands dead and caused widespread destruction.

Badakhshan - the most remote area in Afghanistan - is home to the towering mountains of the Hindu Kush, and is a region prone to earthquakes.

A 6.7-magnitude quake struck Badakhshan in December 2005, killing at least five children. That quake was centered about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Faizabad.

In May 1998, a 6.9-magnitude quake hit near Faizabad, triggering massive mud slides and flooding that left more than 5,000 people dead.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova