Afghan officials said Wednesday that two separate explosions in the country's north killed at least 16 people, almost all of them women and young girls.
A roadside bomb struck a civilian vehicle going to a wedding Wednesday evening, killing at least 15 people; six women, six girls and two infants, as well as the male driver, according to Nasrat Rahimi, an interior ministry spokesman. He said two other civilians were wounded in the blast in the northeastern Kunduz province.
Hours later, a gunfight and explosion at a security checkpoint killed at least one policeman, said Mohammad Nooragha Faizi, a police spokesman in the northern Sari Pul province.
He said militants in a vehicle carrying explosives were stopped at the checkpoint, then opened fire to cover their escape. Faizi said they apparently detonated the explosives remotely after getting away, although an investigation was ongoing.
The interior ministry blames the Taliban for the two attacks. The insurgent group has not commented.
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.
U.S.-Taliban peace talks collapsed in September.