A total of 71 people including women and children were killed in the earthquake that hit Burka town in northern Afghanistan on Monday, said Burka district police chief Habib Rahman on Wednesday, citing the latest counting.

"Our counting indicates that 71 people with majority of them women and children have lost their lives in the devastating earthquake that jolted Burka district on Monday," he told newsmen.

Rescue operations have been going on to search the bodies trapped under debris, he added.

A quake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale shocked several parts of Afghanistan including Kabul and Burka in northern Baghlan province, 160 km north of the capital, on Monday morning.

According to locals, the male members of the affected families in Burka were out on their farmland at the time of the quake and that is why the casualties are mostly women and children.

The earthquake triggered landslides in mountainous Burka district, destroying 25 houses in a village.

Since Burka is a far-flanged area with poor communication facilities, authorities could not report the casualties in time. Meanwhile, some locals believe the casualties may go higher.