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Powerful Earthquake Hits Afghanistan

A man (R) clears rubble after part of his house collapsed after an earthquake, in Rodat district of Jalalabad province in October.

A powerful earthquake has struck northern Afghanistan near the border with Tajikistan and Pakistan, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It said the 6.2-magnitude quake, reported at a depth of 203 kilometers, centered on the Hindu Kush mountains in the country’s northeast, at around 11 p.m. local time on December 25.

Kabul residents rushed out of their homes and buildings on what was a bitterly cold night amid fears of aftershocks.

The earthquake also shook the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, rattling buildings and forcing sleeping residents out of their homes.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or extensive damage, but Pakistani officials said an emergency had been declared protectively at hospitals.

In October, a 7.5-magnitude quake ripped across Pakistan and Afghanistan, killing nearly 400 people and flattening buildings in rugged terrain that impeded relief efforts.

PakistaBased on reporting by AFP and AP