A man wearing an explosive vest blew himself up in a crowded intersection in northern Afghanistan, killing 10 policemen and six civilians, local officials said.

The policemen were targeted in the urban capital of Kunduz province on Monday, police chief Sameullah Qatra said, referring to the most volatile zone of the relatively peaceful north.

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"He killed ten policemen and six civilians," Qatra said, adding that 30 more people, including those belonging to the
security forces, were also wounded.

Earlier, Mohammad Anwar, the gouvernor of Kunduz province, said the bomber, who was on foot, blew himself up next to a group of police officers.

No one immediately took responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of Taliban fighters.

Monday's suicide bombing came two days after a young teenager detonated explosives near the heavily barricaded NATO headquarters in Kabul, killing six civilians, including children.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack, but denied the bomber was a teenager.

Last week, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed vest at a funeral in eastern Nangarhar province, killing at least 25.

Despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of Afghan and foreign troops fighting the Taliban-led uprising, violence is at its worst since they were toppled by Afghan and US forces in late 2001, five years after they took power.

A recent UN report said the Taliban were responsible for 80 per cent of civilian casualties in the conflict.

Source: Agencies