Afghanistan's president has ordered a probe into the suicide bombing at a wedding reception in a northern province, saying "the enemies of Afghanistan once again targeted innocent civilians."
President Hamid Karzai said in a statement that among at least 23 people killed in the attack Saturday in Samangan province were lawmaker Ahmad Khan Samangani and General Mohammad Khan, Samangan's provincial intelligence director.
Another member of parliament, a police commander, and a former provincial governor were injured in the attack in the provincial capital of Aybak.
Authorities say the suicide bomber entered the wedding hall and embraced the father of the bride, Samangani, before blowing himself up.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International says the assassination of a prominent female official of the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs was meant to undermine what it called the "fragile gains" made for women's rights in Afghanistan. The rights group is urging the Afghan government to bring those responsible for the attack to justice.
An Afghan protestor shouts slogans during a demonstration in support of female victims of abuse and violence in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 11, 2012.
Afghan authorities say the director of women's affairs in eastern Laghman province, Hanifa Safi, was killed Friday when a bomb hidden under her car exploded in the provincial capital, Mehterlam. Her husband and daughter were also wounded in the blast, along with at least six other civilians.
Horia Mosadiq, Anmesty International's Afghanistan researcher, said the typical Afghani pattern following incidents like Hanifa is a failure by authorities to adequately investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Amnesty International said at the Tokyo International Donors Conference earlier this month that Afghanistan committed to building a stable state based on the "rule of law, effective and independent judiciary and good governance."
Mosadiq said such commitments are "meaningless" if those responsible for violence against women in Afghanistan are able to escape justice.
Amnesty International warned that the Afghan government and its allies must ensure that human rights, including women's rights, "are not compromised or traded away in expedient deals" as Afghanistan pursues a political settlement with the Taliban and other insurgent groups.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which came just days after the release of a video showing the apparent public execution of a woman by the Taliban.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.