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Hundreds of people have been buried under rubble and many feared dead – after a powerful earthquake shook parts of eastern Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

The Taliban's state-run news agency says more than 900 people have been killed and as many as 600 more injured. It was not possible to immediately confirm that number, because the earthquake hit remote areas.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 5.9.

The hardest hit areas were remote farming villages in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika. Authorities had to dispatch rescue workers by helicopter to dig people out.

A video shared by the news agency featured a man pointing at homes around him in the early light.

Another man in a neighboring province told NPR they were hearing reports that dozens of people had been buried under their homes – and were feared dead – in other remote villages near the Pakistani border.

The earthquake comes as a hunger crisis grips Afghanistan: around half the population of 40 million people need food aid to avert starvation, and the U.N. reports that nearly 95% of Afghans are not eating enough.

Another massive earthquake previously struck the country in 2015, where more than 300 people died and more than 2,000 were injured.

NPR's Ayana Archie contributed to this report.

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