- Aid began arriving on Thursday in a remote part of Afghanistan where an earthquake killed 1,000 people, with Taliban officials saying the rescue operation was almost complete.
The magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck early on Wednesday about 160 km (100 miles) southeast of Kabul, in arid mountains dotted with small settlements near the border with Pakistan.
Poor communications and a lack of proper roads are hampering relief efforts in a country already grappling with a humanitarian crisis which has deteriorated since the Taliban took over last August.
"The rescue operation has finished, no one is trapped under (the) rubble," Mohammad Ismail Muawiyah, a spokesman for the top Taliban military commander in the hardest-hit Paktika province, told Reuters.
Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, a spokesperson for the disaster ministry, told Reuters rescue operations had finished in major districts but were continuing in some isolated areas.
The United Nations said on Thursday the Taliban ministry of defence had indicated as early as Wednesday 90 per cent of search and rescue operations had been completed.
Two retired officers in Nepal involved in the aftermath of the 2015 quake that killed 9,000 people expressed surprise that the rescue operation could be close to completion so soon, but one noted that if most damaged homes were small, it was possible.
The earthquake killed about 1,000 people and injured 1,500, Muawiyah said. More than 3,000 houses were destroyed.
The death toll makes it Afghanistan's deadliest earthquake in two decades, according to U.S. government data.
About 1,000 people had been rescued by Thursday morning, Sharafat Zaman, a spokesperson for the health ministry told Reuters.
"Aid has arrived to the area and it is continuing but more is needed," he said.
The town of Gayan, close to the epicentre, sustained significant damage with most of its mud-walled buildings damaged or completely collapsed, a Reuters team said.
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