5.3 magnitude earthquake kills dozens in western Afghanistan

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At least 26 people were killed after an earthquake hit western Afghanistan.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the earthquake was magnitude 5.3 and was followed by a 4.9 magnitude earthquake two hours later.

The death toll included five women and four children. Four other people were injured in the quake, said Baz Mohammad Sarwary, a spokesman for the province of Badghis, according to Al Jazeera.

Sarwary reportedly added that some of the victims died after the roofs of their houses collapsed in the Qadis district. He also warned that the death toll could go up, as Badghis is mountainous and one of the poorest and most underdeveloped areas in the country.

Mullah Janan Saeqe, who leads the Emergency Operations Center of the Ministry of State for Emergency Affairs, confirmed the death toll and added that more than 700 houses had been damaged in the earthquake, Al Jazeera reported.

The earthquake comes as Afghanistan suffers a humanitarian crisis after the Taliban took over following the U.S. withdrawal in August. Since then, the country's international assets and aid have been frozen.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced plans to send an additional $308 million in humanitarian assistance to the country as it nears economic collapse.

"The United States is committed to supporting the Afghan people and we continue to consider all options available to us. We stand with the people of Afghanistan," National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement when the assistance was announced.

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