KABUL: A bombing in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz province has killed 22 members of illegal armed groups, including four leaders, an Afghan official said Sunday.
Abdul Wadood Wahidi, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the bombing late Saturday targeted a meeting of criminal groups that in the past have clashed with both national security forces and Taliban insurgents. He said seven others were wounded by the blast in Khan Abad district.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the attack.
The Taliban have stepped up attacks across the country since U.S. and NATO forces shifted from a combat to a support and training role at the end of last year.
In the northern Badakhshan province, Taliban insurgents hanged a 27-year-old mother of three after accusing her of having extramarital sex, said Nawid Frotan, spokesman for the provincial governor. Frotan said she was hanged from a tree before a public gathering early Saturday.
In a separate incident, Taliban insurgents beheaded two local policemen and a civilian in Badakhshan on Saturday. The insurgents accused the three of spying, Frotan said.
In the eastern Nangarhar province, a drone strike carried out by Afghan forces killed 15 insurgents and wounded nine others on Saturday, said Hazrat Hussain Mashreqiwal, spokesman for the provincial police chief. Mashreqiwal said a separate airstrike carried out by international forces killed at least 10 insurgents.
He said a major operation is underway in Nangarhar aimed at driving the Taliban out of three districts.