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At least 22 dead after strong earthquake in western Afghanistan

At least 22 dead after strong earthquake in western Afghanistan
The quake was located in northwest Afghanistan near its border with Turkmenistan. Map courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- At least 22 people died in a 5.3-magnitude earthquake that struck a mountainous region of northwestern Afghanistan early Monday, official media reported.

Local officials in Badghis province said preliminary assessments indicated another four people were injured in the quake, according to Afghanistan's official Bakhtar News Agency.

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Most of the casualties came in the Qadis district of the province. The casualty figures were likely to rise, officials warned.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake struck at a depth of 12 miles around 25 miles east of Qala-e-Naw, Afghanistan, at 6:40 a.m. EST, or 1:40 p.m. local time.

"The worst-hit areas were Badruk, Darband-e-Safed and Khak Polak localities in Qadis district, east of the provincial capital Qala-e-Naw," district chief Mohammad Saleh Purdil told China's Xinhua news agency.

Temblors from quake were also felt in the nearby Afghan provinces of Herat and Farah.

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