Health officials confirmed on Monday afternoon that the 7.5 magnitude earthquake, with its epicenter in Jurm district of northern Badakhshan province, has so far killed at least 20 people.
Officials have also said that at least 229 people have been injured accross the country. Of them, 70 people were injured in Kabul city, including 10 children one of whom is in critical condition, said officials, adding that 159 of them were injured in various provinces – mostly in the eastern and northern parts of the country.
However the casualty toll is expected to rise as officials gather information from affected areas in remote districts.
Among the 20 dead, 12 were school girls who died while trying to run from their school building which reportedly collapsed during the quake in Takhar. Eight others were killed in Nangarhar province.
Extensive damage to numerous towns across the country has been reported.
So far health officials say that 30 people have been injured in Kunar province, 40 in Takhar, four in Badakhshan, three in Parwan and 82 in Nangarhar.
The quake – which is believed to have been the most powerful in the country's recent history – occurred at about 1:40pm on Monday afternoon.
In an address to the nation CEO Abdullah Abdullah warned the nation of possible aftershocks and said they should take the necessary precautions.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Monday afternoon that the security forces have been ordered to help people affected by the earthquake.