A suicide bomber wearing a burqa struck a crowded market in western Afghanistan, killing at least 18 people.

At least 22 others were wounded in the explosion, which took place near a police patrol in the market in Delaram district in Farah province.  Afghan officials say police and civilians were among those killed.

Taliban insurgents immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.  The gender of the bomber is not known.

The U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan has been fighting a renewed Taliban insurgency since 2006 - mostly in the south and east.  Suicide attacks and roadside bombings are commonly used by militants against Afghan police and NATO and U.S. forces.  

Tens of thousands of foreign forces are battling various rebel movements and helping rebuild Afghanistan ever since the U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban government from power in 2001. 


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.