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Suicide bomber kills 15 in Afghan market: officials

KABUL: At least 15 people were killed Wednesday when a suicide attacker blew himself up in a busy market in northern Afghanistan, officials said, warning that the death toll could rise.

Women and children were among those killed in the attack in Almar district of Faryab province.

“This morning a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest in a market in Almar,” Faryab governor Abdul Sattar Barez told AFP.

“Our information shows at least 15 people were killed in the attack, including women and children and at least one Afghan army soldier,” he said, adding that around 38 others were wounded.

The attack comes as Taliban insurgents step up attacks on government and foreign targets during their summer offensive despite official efforts to jumpstart peace talks.

Almar district chief Saleh Mohammad Saleh confirmed the death toll.

US-led NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in December, leaving local forces to battle the Taliban alone, but a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.

Afghan officials sat down with Taliban cadres this month in Murree, a tourist town in the hills north of Islamabad, Pakistan, for their first face-to-face talks aimed at ending the bloody insurgency.

They agreed to meet again in the coming weeks, drawing praise from Islamabad, Beijing, Washington and the United Nations. – AFP

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