Bombs may have caused quake

2002-03-06 08:57

Moscow - A severe earthquake, which struck northern Afghanistan and was felt as far away as India, may have been caused by the powerful bombs used in US air strikes, ITAR-TASS reported on Tuesday quoting an unnamed expert.

The tremors which originated in the Hindu Kush mountains were unusually long and powerful, the geophysicist quoted by the agency said, adding that the disaster was unprecedented in Afghanistan.

"It is not unlikely that the massive use of powerful bombs by US troops led to the quake," the expert said, adding that some bombs were known to provoke landslides.

The quake, which measured 7.2 on the open-ended Richter scale according to the US Geological Survey, triggered landslides in Dahani Zoa in northern Afghanistan, burying houses and damming up the river, which then flooded other houses.

Afghan state television said late on Monday that 150 people had been killed and a hotel and about 100 houses destroyed, while another 400 homes were flooded.

Meanwhile, the Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai's visit to Turkmenistan had been put off by two days after the quake had hit.

Karzai is due in Ashgabat on Thursday to sign an accord on supplying Turkmenistan's energy to Afghanistan and other bilateral agreements. - Sapa-AFP