A suicide bomber killed at least 41 people and wounded more than 30 at a northern Afghanistan mosque where the police chief and governor had gathered during a religious holiday, a local official said.
The attack in Faryab province came as worshipers gathered to celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday, deputy governor Abdul Satar Barez said by telephone, adding that the police chief was wounded. The dead included 23 security personnel and 18 civilians, and the number will probably rise, he said.
The bombing appears to have been one of the deadliest since a December explosion targeting worshippers at the Abul Fazl shrine in Kabul killed 55 people. A suicide bomber killed 12 people, including eight South Africans, in an attack last month claimed as revenge for an anti-Islam film made in the U.S.
In an Eid al-Adha message to the nation, President Hamid Karzai had earlier urged Taliban insurgents to stop killing other Afghans, the Associated Press reported. He called on militants to stop destroying mosques, hospitals and schools, the AP said.
On Oct. 1, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near a joint Afghan and NATO patrol in eastern Afghanistan, killing six civilians, four local policemen and three foreign soldiers. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said the group carried out the attack.
The U.S. plans to withdraw most of its remaining 68,000 combat soldiers in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 as it hands over operational control in the 11-year war against the Taliban to Afghan forces.