(CNN) -- An earthquake in central Afghanistan killed at least seven people and injured 70 others early Monday morning, officials said.
The quake, measured by the United States Geological Survey at 5.3 magnitude, struck about 1 a.m. (4:30 p.m. Sunday ET) and affected three districts in Samangan province, about halfway between the capital Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, said assistant governor Hajji Ghulam Sakhi Baghlani.
"The villages were destroyed and the local routes were blocked from slipping mountain rocks on to the roads" Baghlani said.
He said he feared the death toll may rise.
"People may still be under the debris of the fallen houses," he said.
A delegation was dispatched to the affected area to gather more information.