At least 19 people were killed and over 35 others wounded in a suicide attack at a busy market in Afghanistan's northern province of Faryab on Wednesday, security officials said.
The bomb blast occurred at a crowded weekly shopping market in the Almar district. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion fell on the Taliban terror group.
Baryalia Basharyar, deputy provincial police chief, said the target of the attacker was military forces that were present in the area but the majority of the victims were innocent civilians, according to China Post. He also said the death toll is expected to rise.
"The attack was carried out by an elderly suicide bomber using a motorbike at around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday in a busy bazaar of the district. Two military personnel were among those killed, while over 35 others, including soldiers, were wounded," Almar District Chief Mohammad Saleh Monshi told Anadolu Agency, according to APA.
U.N. Secretary General's representative has condemned the attack and said it showed Taliban's appalling disregard for human life.
"This horrific attack against civilians in a market demonstrates an appalling disregard for human life. UNAMA has repeatedly called for an immediate ban on weapons which kill indiscriminately and that are used in civilian-populated areas," said Nicholas Haysom, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), according to Big News Network.
Faryab is one of the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan. Media reports previously said that the Taliban had seized nearly 40 villages in the province, reported DPA.
An accidental U.S airstike killed seven Afghan military personnel and wounded five others during clashes with Taliban extremists in Logar province on Monday, HNGN reported previously.