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Four killed in landslide in northern Afghanistan: officials



A landslide triggered by heavy rains and a small earthquake swept through two villages in northern Afghanistan killing four people and destroying around 100 houses, officials said Saturday.

The natural disaster occurred overnight in the Rustaq district of northern Takhar province, about 300 kilometres (190 miles) north-east of the capital Kabul, police spokesman Abdul Khalil Aseer said.

"Four civilians -- three men and a woman -- were killed as a result of landslide, heavy rains and (an) earthquake in two remote villages of Rustaq district," on the outskirt of northern Takhar province, he said.

According to the United States Geological Survey, a minor 4.1-magnitude quake struck northeast Afghanistan at 2:30 am local time (2220 GMT Friday) at a depth of 203 kilometres.

The death toll might increase as Afghan police forces head to the scene, Aseer said.

Sunatullah Taimoor, a spokesman for the governor of Takhar, confirmed the death toll.

"Around 100 houses were destroyed in last night's landslide," he said, adding residents had climbed to higher ground for safety.

Landslides sometimes occur during the spring rainy season in the country's mountainous north, with th flimsy mud houses built in the area often unable to withstand them.

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