KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- A powerful earthquake struck northeastern Afghanistan on Monday, reportedly killing more than 300 people and generating strong aftershocks that were felt throughout south Asia.
The 7.5-magnitude earthquake was centered deep inside the Earth's crust, geologists said -- about 130 miles below the surface. The shaking could be felt in Pakistan, India and Tajikistan, news reports said.
The quake caused major structural damage across the region.
"All the while, I was looking at the towering building, fearing it would come crashing on me anytime," resident Muhammad Ali said. "The whole building was swinging from one side to the other."
The epicenter of the earthquake was in a remote, mountainous region about 28 miles north of the Afghan town of Alaqahdari-ye Kiran wa Munjan and nearly 160 miles from Kabul, the Afghan capital.
Monday's earthquake was similar in strength to one that struck neighboring Kashmir and killed more than 70,000 in 2005. The substantial depth of Afghanistan's earthquake, though, translated into less shaking above ground, geologists said.
Late Monday evening, the BBC reported at least 300 people dead and 2,000 injured. Rescuers have been sent to remote areas in the mountains to look for survivors. Northern Pakistan seems to have been hit the hardest, with at least 228 people and 1,620 injured.
At least three aftershocks measuring up to magnitudes of 4.8 were reported nearly 125 miles west-northwest of the epicenter. The quake also reportedly caused a landslide near Pakistan's Hunza river.
"Heard about strong earthquake in Afghanistan-Pakistan region whose tremors have been felt in parts of India. I pray for everyone's safety," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter.
The region has a history of powerful earthquakes due to the Indian subcontinent drifting into and under the Eurasian landmass, resulting in frequent tectonic activity.
"Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates numerous earthquakes and consequently makes this area one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth," the U.S. Geological Survey said.