The magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck early on Wednesday about 160 km, (100 miles) southeast of Kabul, in arid mountains doted with small settlments near the border with Pakistan.

"We can't reach the area, the networks are too week, we trying to get updates," Mohammad Ismail Muawiyah, a spokesman for the top Taliban military commander in hardest-hit Paktika province, told Reuters, referring to telephone networks.

The earthquake killed some 1,000 people and injured 1,500 injured, he said. More than 3,000 houses were destroyed.

About 600 people had been rescued from various affected areas on Wednesday night, he added.



The rescue operation will be a major test for the hard-line Islamist Taliban authorities, who took over the country last August after two decades of war and have been cut off from much international assistance because of sanctions.

The Taliban-led ministry of defence is leading rescue efforts.

Afghan media published pictires of houses reduced to rubble and
bodies swathed in blankets on the ground in the hours after the earthquake https://tmsnrt.rs/3xH5Dcp struck.

Accurate information has been limited from remote mountain villages.

Large parts of South Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate known as the Indian plate is pushing north into the Eurasian plate.

In 2015, an earthquake struck the remote Afghan northeast, killing several hundred people in Afghanistan and nearby northern Pakistan.

(Reporting by Mohamed Yunus Tawar in Kabul; Writing by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Robert Birsel)

By Mohamad Yunus Tawar