KABUL // A suicide bomber struck outside a provincial council headquarters in northern Afghanistan yesterday, killing the council chief and at least 13 others.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility.
Baghlan provincial council leader Mohammad Rasoul Mohseni was entering the compound in the morning when the bomber ran up on foot and detonated his explosives, police said.
Asadullah Sherzad, the provincial police, said 14 people were killed, including Mohseni, and 11 were wounded.
Mohammad Zahier Ghanizada, a member of parliament from Baghlan, said Mohseni had previously received multiple death threats.
Also killed in the attack were six police bodyguards and seven civilians, Mr Sherzad said.
The Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed in a text message to journalists that an insurgent operative carried out the targeted bombing.
Seeking to weaken the Afghan government, the Taliban insurgents have been carrying out attacks and assassinations intended to intimidate both officials and civilians ahead of next year's withdrawal of most international troops.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the bombing.
"Such attacks are against all human rights and the principles of Islam," Mr Karzai said. "Perpetrators of such attacks are enemies of the Afghan nation and the puppets of foreigners."