Quake rocks Afghanistan

KABUL — A strong earthquake centered in the towering Hindu Kush mountains shook a wide area of eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan early today, swaying buildings in the Afghan and Pakistani capitals.

There were no initial reports of damage or casualties from the quake.

However, the earthquake was centered in a remote mountain area where communications are poor and reports of casualties take time to reach the capital.

The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 and was centered in the mountains about 160 miles northeast of Kabul, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Pakistani refugees say Taliban are digging in

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — Residents fleeing a 6-day-old Pakistani army offensive in a Taliban stronghold along the Afghan border reported Thursday that the insurgents are digging in for a fight and travel the roads freely.

Tired and dusty refugees arriving in this northwestern town Thursday from different parts of South Waziristan reported intense army bombing by jets and helicopters but said they had seen no ground troops.