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Quake in Afghanistan leaves rubble, funerals and survivors struggling with loss

ZINDA JAN, Afghanistan (AP) — Nurullah crossed the border into Iran to earn money for his family, like so many men from his village in western Afghanistan.

On Sunday, he stood on the side of the road crying.

The 55-year-old was heading home to bury his wife, three children and a grandchild killed a day before, when an earthquake left at least 2,000 people dead in Afghanistan’s Herat province.

On Wednesday, another quake of the same magnitude struck nearby. It is not yet clear what further damage it caused to the already devastated region.

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Afghans bury hundreds of people killed in an earthquake to a burial site, in a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)6.3 magnitude earthquake shakes part of western Afghanistan where an earlier quake killed over 2,000An Afghan man mourns next to the grave of his wife who died due to an earthquake, in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)Afghans still hope to find survivors from quake that killed over 2,000 in western Herat provinceAn Afghan man rests his head on the grave of his wife who died due to an earthquake and talks to her at a burial site, in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)Mounds of rubble and a future of grief are what’s left after Afghanistan earthquake killed thousandsAfghans bury hundreds of people killed in an earthquake to a burial site, in a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghans bury hundreds of people killed in an earthquake to a burial site, in a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The hearses arrived, following Nurullah’s directions to find the remote village, and mourners took the dead to the cemetery.

Nurullah’s sister Maahzaad, 53, kept repeating her daughter’s name.

She had a son, who she’d already lost to war and misfortune. Now she had lost her only remaining child, a young woman married three months earlier.

Nurullah — many Afghans use only one name — got out of the car and people came over to welcome and him with hugs.

Afghan men search for victims after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. Powerful earthquakes killed at least 2,000 people in western Afghanistan, a Taliban government spokesman said Sunday. It's one of the deadliest earthquakes to strike the country in two decades. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghan men search for victims after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

In the nearby village of Naib Rafi, people picked up debris after coming from elsewhere to help survivors and pull bodies from the rubble.

The entire village of around 300 homes was destroyed, leaving nothing but mounds of dirt. Almost all of the 2,500 residents were killed or hurt, except men who were working outside when the earthquake hit.

One man lost 12 members of his family. While 11 bodies had been pulled from the rubble, he could not find the body of his 4-year-old daughter.

After searching for it for two days, he gave up and called for help.

An Afghan man searches for victims after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. Powerful earthquakes killed at least 2,000 people in western Afghanistan, a Taliban government spokesman said Sunday. It's one of the deadliest earthquakes to strike the country in two decades. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man searches for victims after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Sometimes dead animals could be seen among the ruins. In the twilight, a man with a blanket wrapped around him walked around crying and talking to himself. Mullah Abdul Basir said he was working outside the village when the quake struck, killing five members of his family.

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“When I left home,” he said, “everyone was fine. My children were playing in the yard. When I returned, There was nothing.”

Survivors were mostly those who were working outside when the quake struck: The dead were mostly children, women and old people who could not leave the house.

People were searching the debris when a cleric asked them to start digging gra

Afghan women mourn relatives killed in an earthquake at a burial site after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. Powerful earthquakes killed at least 2,000 people in western Afghanistan, a Taliban government spokesman said Sunday. It's one of the deadliest earthquakes to strike the country in two decades. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghan women mourn relatives killed in an earthquake at a burial site after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

ves, and it took a day to dig enough with a front-end loader, a bulldozer and many people.

People stood on the hilltops outside the next village, burying hundreds of bodies.

A man who had lost his wife and child embraced his wife’s grave, crying silently. A boy sat in the crowd next to his brother’s grave, mourning and reminiscing.

A man handed his own child’s body to his father and said: “Here, come bury your grandson.”

Iranian rescue team and Afghan men search for victims after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iranian rescue team and Afghan men search for victims after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Another man who had lost his father cried and said that he’d lost not only his father, but his teacher and his guide. A little girl begged for people to show her her younger brother’s face before burying him.

As it got dark outside the village of Naib Rafi, bodies were spread out in the plain, as people were putting them in the graves. Hundreds of bodies were laid in the trenches.

The only sound was the noise of picks, shovels, and digging machines.

Afghans pray for relatives killed in an earthquake at a burial site in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. Powerful earthquakes killed at least 2,000 people in western Afghanistan, a Taliban government spokesman said Sunday. It's one of the deadliest earthquakes to strike the country in two decades. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghans pray for relatives killed in an earthquake at a burial site in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghan women mourn for relatives killed in an earthquake at a burial site after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. Powerful earthquakes killed at least 2,000 people in western Afghanistan, a Taliban government spokesman said Sunday. It's one of the deadliest earthquakes to strike the country in two decades. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghan women mourn for relatives killed in an earthquake at a burial site after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man searches for his missing child under the rubble of his house after the earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. Powerful earthquakes killed at least 2,000 people in western Afghanistan, a Taliban government spokesman said Sunday. It's one of the deadliest earthquakes to strike the country in two decades. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man searches for his missing child under the rubble of his house after the earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

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A dog waits for its owners in the area of a house that was destroyed by an earthquake and all the people of that house were killed and does not leave there in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. It's one of the deadliest earthquakes to strike the country in two decades. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

A dog waits for its owners in the area of a house that was destroyed by an earthquake and all the people of that house were killed and does not leave there in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan boy mourns next to the grave of his little brother who died due to an earthquake, in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan boy mourns next to the grave of his little brother who died due to an earthquake, in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man buries his little grandson who was killed by the earthquake, in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man buries his little grandson who was killed by the earthquake, in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT - An Afghan man looks at the face of his child who was killed by an earthquake, before the burial, in a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT – An Afghan man looks at the face of his child who was killed by an earthquake, before the burial, in a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man buries his little grandson who was killed by the earthquake, in a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man buries his little grandson who was killed by the earthquake, in a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man rests his head on the grave of his wife who died due to an earthquake and talks to her at a burial site, in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man rests his head on the grave of his wife who died due to an earthquake and talks to her at a burial site, in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghans bury hundreds of people killed in an earthquake at a burial site, outside a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghans bury hundreds of people killed in an earthquake at a burial site, outside a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghans bury hundreds of people killed in an earthquake to a burial site, outside a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghans bury hundreds of people killed in an earthquake to a burial site, outside a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghans bury hundreds of people killed in an earthquake at a burial site, outside a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghans bury hundreds of people killed in an earthquake at a burial site, outside a village in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man sits next to the body of his relative who was killed by the earthquake, at a burial site in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Afghan man sits next to the body of his relative who was killed by the earthquake, at a burial site in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western of Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghan men search for victims after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday's deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Afghan men search for victims after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

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Ebrahim Noroozi is an AP photographer based in Kabul who is traveling to quake-affected areas in the west.