Taliban Overrun Quake-Hit District in Afghanistan

Taliban Overrun Quake-Hit District  in AfghanistanTaliban Overrun Quake-Hit District  in Afghanistan

Taliban militants overran a district in one of the northern Afghan provinces hit by a powerful earthquake this week, underlining the security problems that have hampered efforts to get emergency relief to remote mountainous regions.

Officials said militants seized control of the district capital of Darqand in Takhar province, on the border with Tajikistan in the early hours of Wednesday, continuing a campaign that has intensified across the country this year, Reuters reported.

The area around Darqand is not one where there have been reports of major damage or loss of life from Monday’s earthquake, which killed more than 300 people across broad swathes of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But it is well within the impact zone and at least 15 people have been reported killed and more than 40 injured in Takhar province as a whole.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are scrambling to rush aid to survivors of this week’s magnitude-7.5 earthquake, as the region’s overall death toll from the temblor rose to 385, AP reported.

Pakistan’s disaster management authority says the nation’s dead now are at 267, with 220 people killed in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and another 47 elsewhere in the country.

Afghanistan has reported 115 dead, while three people died on the Indian side of the disputed region of Kashmir.

In battered northwestern Pakistan, more than 10,000 homes were damaged, as well as 147 schools. The quake, which struck on Monday, was centered in Afghanistan’s sparsely populated Badakhshan province bordering Pakistan, Tajikistan and China.