The attacker detonated his vest after mourners gathered for the funeral of a government official in Taluqan city, the capital of Takhar province. "We have 19 dead including an MP, Abdulmutalib Baig, and about 40 wounded, mostly civilians," said Takhar provincial governor Abdul Jabar Taqwa.
"I was also invited to this ceremony but I didn't go. The target was either me or the MP." Baig was a former Mujahedeen commander and the former police chief of Kunduz province, he added.
Provincial police chief General Khair Mohammad Temor, who confirmed the death toll and number of wounded, said no women were among the dead. "A suicide attacker wearing a suicide vest attacked the funeral procession," he said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility and the Taliban, who are leading a 10-year insurgency against Afghan government forces and US-led international troops, were not reachable for comment.
Takhar province is one of the areas being handed over by NATO in the second wave of transition to Afghan security forces ahead of the planned withdrawal of foreign combat forces by the end of 2014.
There have been a number of high-profile attacks in the province in the last year, including the assassination of northern Afghanistan police commander and former minister General Mohammad Daud Daud.