updated 4/5/2004 9:44:05 PM ET 2004-04-06T01:44:05

A powerful earthquake jolted the remote Hindu Kush mountains along Afghanistan’s northeast border with Pakistan on Tuesday.

The quake was felt hundreds of miles away. It rattled windows in Kabul, 175 miles to the southwest, and sent some frightened residents into the streets in their nightclothes.

The quake was centered in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, which borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China.

The temblor struck at 2:24 a.m. Tuesday. The U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo. said it had a magnitude of 6.6. Pakistan’s Seismological Center, based in the northwestern city of Peshawar, put the magnitude at 6.8.

A government spokesman in Kabul had no immediate information on any casualties or damage.

“The whole region is earthquake-prone,” said presidential spokesman Jawed Ludin. “Emergency response has been very challenging in the past because a lot of areas are difficult to access.”

In May 1998, an earthquake of magnitude 6.9 killed up to 5,000 people in northern Afghanistan and neighboring Tajikistan. Another quake killed up to 1,000 in northern Afghanistan in March 2002.

Mohammed Irfan, an official at Pakistan’s seismological center, said Tuesday’s quake lasted nearly a minute. “It was of severe intensity,” Irfan said.

Afghan officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Assessing the damage could take time, sometimes even several days.

A pair of magnitude-5 earthquakes struck northwestern Pakistan on March 10 and February 22, but caused no injuries.

A magnitude 5.7 quake and nearly equally strong aftershock struck roughly the same region on Feb. 13, killing at

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