Kabul: A suicide bomber killed at least 32 people and wounded 34 when he struck inside a mosque in Maymana city in northern Afghanistan during Eid al-Adha prayers on Friday, officials said.

The attacker was wearing a police uniform when he blew himself up in the crowded Eid Gah mosque in the provincial capital of Faryab province, deputy provincial governor Abdul Satar Barez said.

"As a result of the explosion, 32 people are dead, 17 civilians and 15 police and intelligence agents. The provincial police chief, Abdul Khaliq Aqsai is among the wounded," he said.

Most provincial government officials were also at the mosque, which was crowded on the first day of the four-day holiday for the Muslim festival of Eid.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings are a favourite weapon of Taliban Islamists trying to topple the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

Northern Afghanistan is relatively peaceful, with the Taliban, who were ousted from power in a US-led invasion in 2001, concentrating their operations in the south and east of the country.

But they have recently stepped up their activities in the north, despite the presence of more than 100,000 NATO troops in the country.


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