JUST IN: At least 14 killed and 78 injured as massive earthquake hits Afghanistan

BREAKING: Morocco earthquake kills 296 people, number likely to increase

In western Afghanistan, a powerful earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale has caused extensive damage and loss of life.

At least 14 people have been reported dead and 78 injured, although authorities fear the number of casualties will increase as more reports emerge of individuals trapped under collapsed structures.

According to Mohammad Taleb Shahid, the public health director of Herat province, the epicenter of the earthquake was situated approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Herat, the largest city in the region.

Following the initial tremor, five aftershocks with magnitudes ranging from 4.6 to 6.3 were recorded.

As the quake struck, residents and shopkeepers in Herat hurriedly evacuated their buildings, resulting in 25 injuries and one fatality, according to a spokesperson from the Taliban government.

Witnesses in Herat described the harrowing scene of buildings shaking, plaster falling from walls, and cracks appearing in structures.

 Communication networks were disrupted, leaving many worried and unable to contact their families.

Mullah Jan Sayeq, a spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Authority, cautioned that the initial casualty count is preliminary and expected to increase. Landslides have occurred in rural and mountainous areas, further complicating the situation.

Efforts are underway to assess the full extent of the damage and provide assistance to those affected by the earthquake.

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