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KABUL, Afghanistan – A strong earthquake in northern Afghanistan was felt across much of South Asia on Monday, shaking buildings from Kabul to Delhi and cutting power and communications in some areas.
The United States Geological Service put the magnitude of the earthquake at 7.7 and said its epicenter was in the far northern province of Badakhshan, which borders Tajikistan and China. USGS said it was 213 kilometers (132.3 miles) deep and 73 kilometers (45 miles) south of the Badakhshan capital, Fayzabad.
"There are reports of casualties and destruction" in some remote districts of Badakhshan, said the provincial director of the national disaster management authority, Abdullah Humayoon Dehqan.
Power was cut across much of the Afghan capital, where tremors were felt for around 45 seconds. Houses shook, walls cracked and cars rolled in the street. Officials in the capital could not be immediately reached as telephones appeared to be cut across the country.
In Pakistan, Zahid Rafiq, an official with the meteorological department, said the quake was felt across the country. In Islamabad, buildings shook and people poured into the streets in a panic, with many reciting verses from the Quran.
"I was praying when the massive earthquake rattled my home. I came out in a panic," said Munir Anwar, a resident of Liaquat Pur in the eastern Punjab province.
The quake was also felt in the Indian capital New Delhi, though no damage was immediately reported. Office buildings swayed and workers who had just returned from lunch ran out of buildings and gathered in the street or in parking lots.