UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said he was "saddened" by deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan and called for solidarity with the nation.

"I was saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life caused by the earthquake which struck Afghanistan earlier today local time near the city of Khost," UN head said in a statement.

"My heart goes out to the people of Afghanistan who are already reeling from the impact of years of conflict, economic hardship and hunger.

"I convey my deep condolences to the families of the victims and wish speedy recovery to the injured," he said.

The UN chief said the international body's mission in Afghanistan is fully mobilized and teams are on the ground to assess the needs of quake-impacted people and to provide initial support.

"We count on the international community to help support the hundreds of families hit by this latest disaster.  Now is the time for solidarity," Guterres said.

Citing an official  of the ruling Taliban, Al Jazeera reported yesterday that the number of people killed in an earthquake that hit Afghanistan’s Paktika and Khost provinces early Wednesday morning has reached 1,500.   

According to him, the quake left over 2,000 people injured.

The quake reportedly struck shortly Wednesday after 01:30 am local time as people slept.

Hundreds of houses were destroyed by the magnitude 6.1 event, which occurred at a depth of 51 kilometers.

It is Afghanistan’s deadliest quake in two decades.

In 2015, an earthquake struck the remote Afghan northeast, killing several hundred people in Afghanistan and nearby northern Pakistan.

It is to be noted that large parts of South Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate known as the Indian plate is pushing north into the Eurasian plate.