A roadside bomb has killed at least 15 civilians, almost all of them women and young girls, in Afghanistan's northern province of Kunduz, officials said on Thursday.
Nasrat Rahimi, an interior ministry spokesman, said two other civilians were wounded in the blast that hit a civilian vehicle on its way to a wedding.
Six women, six girls and two infants died in the explosion, as well as the male driver, he said.
Enamudin Rahmani, police spokesman for Kunduz province, confirmed the report.
The interior ministry blames the Taliban for Wednesday evening’s bombing. The insurgent group has not commented.
In a separate incident Thursday, at least seven Afghan security forces were killed in the northern province of Takhar, officials said.
More than 10 others were also wounded in the attack on two bases in the Darqad district of the province, councilors Mohammad Azam Afzali and Yaqoob Nazari said.
The bases were not sufficiently fortified and the militants took advantage of that weakness, according to the officials.
The Taliban had taken control of the district nearly two months ago, but it was retaken by Afghan forces nearly a month ago. The officials said that the group still has a presence on the outskirts of the district.
The Taliban continue to attack Afghan and international forces, despite the group saying that the recent release of three of their key members would help with the Afghan peace process.
The Taliban today control or hold sway over half of Afghanistan, staging near-daily attacks that target Afghan forces and government officials but also kill scores of civilians.
At least 3,812 civilians were killed and wounded in the first half of this year in violent incidents across the country. In the same period, 144 women and 327 children were killed and more than 1,000 more wounded, the U.N. said.
The report added that pro-government forces killed 717 Afghans and wounded 680 in the six months to June 30, a 31% increase from 2018.