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Quake shakes Afghanistan capital

Alex Quade

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- An earthquake shook the capital Sunday afternoon, causing damage and leaving seven people with serious injuries. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

The quake, which struck at 4:30 p.m. (7 a.m. EST), was felt at Bagram Air Base, about 30 miles away, and as far away as India.

A spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.2, with an epicenter 45 miles south, south-west of Feyzabad, Afghanistan.

Bruce Presgrave said the strong earthquake caused minimal damage because it originated 121 miles below the earth's surface.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had received no reports of casualties.

The earthquake, which lasted about a minute, destroyed 14 houses -- 12 in the western part of the city, two others in the north of town, according to Kabul Radio. Twelve additional houses were seriously damaged in other parts of the city.

Other residents said the earthquake knocked pictures off walls and items from shelves.

The damage focused heavily on the old section of town called Shri Kona, which was battered during fighting with the Soviets in the early 1990s. Residents milled about in the streets, listening to portable radios for information and looking at a large cloud of dust that hovered over the city.

Government ministries closed for the day, so there was no information immediately available from the interim government.

Presgrave said the area is one of the most seismically active areas in the world, and discounted suggestions that thermobaric bombs used by U.S. forces Saturday could have triggered the earthquake.

The last earthquake of similar magnitude to hit the area occurred in 1983. An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 was recorded in the region last December.




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