Earthquake Shakes Afghan-Pakistani Border

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A strong earthquake struck remote northeastern Afghanistan and shook neighboring Pakistan, the scene of a devastating quake two months ago. Hours after the quake, officials were trying contact isolated communities to determine whether it caused damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.7 quake was centered in the remote Hindu Kush region of northeastern Afghanistan. It struck shortly before 2:30 a.m. in Afghanistan.

The quake — centered about 65 miles southeast of Faizabad in the Hindu Kush mountains — was felt more than 200 miles away in Islamabad, Pakistan, and in Kabul, where the shaking lasted several seconds and people rushed into the streets.

Abdul Majid, the governor of the Badakhshan province where the quake was centered, told The Associated Press the ground there shook for two minutes. He said he had no information about any damage in the mountainous region, where communication with remote districts is difficult.

The sparsely populated area is about 200 miles from the center of the Oct. 8 quake that killed about 87,000 people in northwestern Pakistan and Indian Kashmir. Salim Akhtar, an official at the Peshawar earthquake center in Pakistan, said he did not consider it an aftershock of the October quake.

The tremor sent people scurrying outside in areas hit by the October quake, Pakistani television stations reported. The stations also reported landslides near the town of Bagh in Pakistani Kashmir, one of the areas worst hit by the October quake.

A magnitude-6 quake can cause severe damage, but Amir Shahzad of Pakistan's Meteorological Department said the quake might not have caused much damage because it occurred deep underground. The USGS said its recorded depth was nearly 140 miles.

The area stretching across Pakistan into India and Afghanistan is a hotbed for seismic activity that erupts each time the plates of the Indian subcontinent slam into Asia.

A magnitude-5.8 earthquake in northern Afghanistan killed some 1,000 people in March 2002, and a magnitude 6.9 killed some 5,000 people in 1998.