Police in northern Afghanistan say a suicide bomber riding a motorbike killed 19 people and wounded nearly 40 others Wednesday in a crowded marketplace.
Deputy police provincial police chief Baryalia Basharyar told reporters the attack in Almar district of the Faryab province was apparently aimed at military personnel. But he said the majority of the victims were innocent civilians and the death toll is expected to rise.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the violence. Taliban insurgents frequently carry attacks against security forces in the province.
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan head Nicholas Haysom condemned the violence, saying the "horrific attack against civilians in a market demonstrates an appalling disregard for human life."
The U.N. secretary general's Special Representative for Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom said in the statement that the U.N. has repeatedly called for an immediate ban on weapons that kill indiscriminately that are used in civilian areas.
The bombing followed a lull in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan during the three-day Muslim festival of Eid.
On Monday, an accidental U.S. airstrike killed 7 Afghan soldiers and wounded five others during clashes with Taliban militants in the southeastern Logar province.