A suicide blast tore through a crowded market Wednesday in northwest Afghanistan, killing more than a dozen people in an area where government forces have clashed recently with Taliban militants.

There was no assertion of responsibility, but the Taliban and other extremist groups have carried out similar attacks in the past.

The bomber detonated an explosive belt after being spotted by a security guard in the main market in the Almar district of Faryab province, about 250 miles northwest of Kabul, officials said.

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