Afghan quake update, rescuers struggling to reach survivors & launch emergency appeal.

People in Paktika province dug graves to bury the dead on Wednesday (June 22) after a devastating earthquake struck Afghanistan killing at least 1000.

More than 600 were injured and the toll is expected to grow as information trickles in from remote mountain villages. Houses were reduced to rubble and bodies swathed in blankets lay on the ground after the magnitude 6.1 earthquake, Afghan media reports showed.is

Wednesday's quake was the deadliest in Afghanistan since 2002. It struck about 44 km (27 miles) from the southeastern city of Khost, near the border with Pakistan, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Mounting a rescue operation will prove a major test for the hard-line Islamist Taliban authorities, who took over the country last August after two decades of war and have been cut off from much international assistance because of sanctions. The Taliban-led ministry of defence is leading rescue efforts.

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