More Than 2,500 Dead After Earthquakes Strike Afghanistan
MOHSEN KARIMI/AFP via Getty Images

More than 2,500 people have reportedly died after a pair of 6.3 magnitude earthquakes struck parts of western Afghanistan on Saturday, marking one of the country’s deadliest tremors in the last 20 years.

The initial quake struck about 20 miles west of the city of Herat — the third largest city in Afghanistan and home to nearly 600,000 people — in the western Herat province, which borders Iran, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. It was followed by several strong tremors and aftershocks measuring magnitudes of 6.3, 5.9, and 5.5.

“According to the officials of the Ministry of Disaster Management, the number of martyrs due to the earthquake in Herat has exceeded 2,500,” Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for Kabul police, said on X. “Aid teams are working in the area. The affected people in the area still need shelter.”

State-run media Bakhtar News Agency reported at least 12 villages in the Zinda Jan and Ghorian districts of Herat province have been “completely destroyed.”

Janan Sayeeq, a spokesman for the Ministry of Disasters, told Reuters early Sunday that the seismic activity killed 2,053 people so far, injured more than 2,000, and destroyed or damaged at least 1,320 houses.

Taliban officials asked local organizations to assist in the impacted areas by providing food and shelter for survivors and the homeless.

“We ask our wealthy compatriots to give any possible cooperation and help to our afflicted brothers,” the Taliban posted on X.


Video and photographs show crowds of survivors gathering in the streets for safety.

Herat resident Abdul Shakor Samadi told The Associated Press the impacted area forced mass evacuations from residences and other covered properties.

“All people are out of their homes,” Samadi said. “Houses, offices, and shops are all empty, and there are fears of more earthquakes.”

On social media, World Health Organization officials in Afghanistan said it dispatched 12 ambulances to Zenda Jan to transport casualties to hospitals.

“As deaths & casualties from the earthquake continue to be reported, teams are in hospitals assisting treatment of wounded & assessing additional needs,” WHO officials said on X. “WHO-supported ambulances are transporting those affected, most of them women and children.”

Local media reported that Afghanistan experiences frequent tremors, typically in the Hindukush mountain range, which sits near the confluence of Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

Last year, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in June killed more than 1,000 people, leaving tens of thousands homeless in the Paktika province.

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