By F. Brinley Bruton, Wajahat S. Khan, Mushtaq Yusufzai and Fazul Rahim
KABUL, Afghanistan — A magnitude-7.5 earthquake hit northeastern Afghanistan on Monday, killing hundreds of people there and in neighboring Pakistan.
"More [deaths] are expected," the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's chief minister, Pervez Khattak, told state TV about three hours after the quake hit.
Pakistan suffered the worst casualties, with more than 200 people dead and 1,000 or so others reported injured, officials said.
In Afghanistan, 73 people were reported dead and more than 300 were injured.
The toll included about 12 girls who died while trying to flee their school in Afghanistan, an official told NBC News — with some of them crushed in a stampede.
Landslides were reported, and some of the affected regions could not immediately be contacted, authorities said. The quake came just days after rain fell in many parts of Afghanistan, potentially making mud-built dwellings vulnerable.
The temblor struck about 2:10 p.m. (5:10 a.m. ET) in a remote area of the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan about 28 miles south-southwest of Jarm, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The agency later revised its magnitude from a preliminary 7.7 to 7.5.
The earthquake was widely felt in neighboring Pakistan, where the government declared an emergency in some areas. The country's army put all non-combat units on standby.
"I just felt it go up and down as if I was on a New York subway on a really rough ride," said NBC News producer Wajahat S. Khan, who was in a hotel in Lahore at the time of the quake. "Everything was moving up and down. My lunch on the table was literally just popping up and down."
.@WajSKhan was in a hotel room in Lahore when the quake struck. Says chandeliers were swinging and people screamed and ran outside.
Khan added: "The scenes downstairs were really, really chaotic. The panic continued and lasted for a good four or five minutes after the quake."
NBC News producer Mushtaq Yusufzai was eating with his family in Peshawar when the earthquake struck.
"There was no was way to go downstairs, so we immediately climbed to the rooftop," he said. "It seemed the entire building was going to collapse. Women and children were crying, and traffic was stopped on roads."
In Badakhshan, where the quake's epicenter was located, aone, 1,438 homes were destroyed or damaged, said the province's governor, Shah Waliullah Adeeb. That included at least 70 in the village of Charmaghz Daram, according to the police chief, Gen. Gulam Sakhi.
In Kunar province, 42 people were dead and another 67 injured, Police Chief Habib Sayeddkhili told NBC News.
In the Afghan capital, Kabul, cars stopped in the streets and screaming residents streamed out of homes, offices and schools. Widespread power failures and telephone cuts were reported.
"This was the most powerful earthquake we have witnessed," he told NBC News. "It happened while there was heavy rain and hailstorm in parts of the province ... but many homes have been destroyed, and the death toll could be higher as we are trying to reach to the remote areas."
The quake was also felt in Indian cities including Srinagar, which is almost 300 miles away.
Heard about strong earthquake in Afghanistan-Pakistan region whose tremors have been felt in parts of India. I pray for everyone's safety.
Devastating earthquakes are relatively common in the mountainous and seismically active region. A 7.6-magnitude quake killed about 75,000 people when it hit northern Pakistan on Oct. 8, 2005.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul released a statement expressing its "deepest condolences" to victims.
F. Brinley Bruton
F. Brinley Bruton is senior editor in charge of NBC News Digital’s London bureau.
Wajahat S. Khan
Wajahat S.Khan is a correspondent and producer for NBC News based in Islamabad, covering South Asia and also assisting the Kabul bureau. Khan is the national security correspondent for Pakistan's largest news network, Geo, and its largest English newspaper, The News.
He was the first Pakistani Fellow at the Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Previously, Khan reported for CNN, and contributed alternative-media reportage to San Francisco-based Link TV. He anchored a popular investigative series on Pakistan’s local Aaj TV, and also hosted and produced for Pakistan’s first English-medium network, Dawn News.
He is also the first broadcaster from Pakistan to produce an investigative series from across the “divide” in India. Khan has written for most of the major Pakistani publications — The News, The Dawn, The Express Tribune, The Friday Times and The Herald, and also contributes to India Today, India's most popular weekly.
Mushtaq Yusufzai is a journalist based in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Rahim joined the NBC News Kabul Bureau team in December 2013. He has extensively covered events in Afghanistan since 2001, and is a former Afghanistan Bureau Chief for CBS News. While with CBS, he co-produced reports for "The CBS Evening News" and "60 Minutes."
The Associated Press, Alexander Smith, Jason Cumming and Sarah Burke contributed.