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Taliban Calls For Help After Earthquake Kills 1,000 People In Afghanistan

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Taliban Calls For Help After Earthquake Kills 1,000 People In Afghanistan

The Taliban is struggling to respond to the deadliest earthquake to hit Afghanistan for two decades.

The hardline Islamist leadership has been stripped of international alliances and has been forced to appeal for aid. 

The Taliban has also blamed international sanctions for its inability to deal with the 5.9-magnitude earthquake, which is thought to have left over 1,000 dead when it struck on Wednesday, 22 June.

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This is the first full-scale disaster the Taliban has faced since assuming power around 10 months ago.

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When US-led coalition forces withdrew from the nation last year, sanctions were almost immediately imposed on Afghanistan. The Taliban has said such sanctions have crippled its ability to deal with the recent disaster. 

According to Associated Press, Wednesday’s earthquake hit around 30 miles southwest of Khost but tremors were felt in Kabul and as far as Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. 

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The worst hit area was Afghanistan's mountainous Paktika Province. Here, as many as 1,800 homes were destroyed by the earthquake and it’s estimated 1,000 were killed, while thousands more have been injured. 

Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban's supreme leader, made an appeal to international organisations during a rare public appearance.

He asked other countries ‘to help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy and to spare no effort’.

Anas Haqqani, a senior Taliban official, echoed Akhundzada’s sentiments in a tweet she published on Wednesday, writing: "The government is working within its capabilities. 

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Credit: Associated Press
Credit: Associated Press

“We hope that the International Community & aid agencies will also help our people in this dire situation."

Speaking to Associated Press, Robert Sanders, a seismologist with the US Geological Survey, explained why the Paktika Province has been so badly affected. 

"Because of the mountainous area, there are rockslides and landslides that we won't know about until later reporting. Older buildings are likely to crumble and fail," he said. 

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"Due to how condensed the area is in that part of the world, we've seen in the past similar earthquakes deal significant damage."

It’s still unclear how many people are stuck beneath rubble, and the UN has said it expects the death toll to rise.

UN aid agencies from Pakistan are on the ground responding to Wednesday’s disaster, according to Insider.

Samantha Mort, UNICEF's Afghanistan communication chief, said: "We've got people on the ground who are distributing blankets and and hygiene kits. We've got several mobile health and nutrition teams on the way to administer first aid to those who are injured.”

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Featured Image Credit: Getty Images/AP

Topics: News, Environment, World News

Aisha Nozari
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