A SUICIDE bomber detonated explosives outside a mosque packed with senior regional officials in northern Afghanistan, killing 41 people.
The officials escaped unhurt. Many of the dead were soldiers and police.
The attack was the latest in a series of deadly strikes against Afghan army, police and government officials. At least 14 civilians were among the dead.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The attack took place in the town of Maymana, capital of northern Faryab province.
The bomber struck after top officials, including the governor and the police chief, had assembled inside the mosque.
The blast went off in the middle of a large crowd that included police and soldiers waiting for the dignitaries to emerge.
"There were blood and dead bodies everywhere," said 'Khaled', a doctor who was in the mosque at the time.
Video from the scene showed the motionless bodies of several soldiers and policemen lying next to their vehicles parked on a tree-lined avenue of the city, which is located about 500km northwest of Kabul.
The harrowing footage showed several people on the pavement, they were civilians lying along the mosque's outer wall, some of whom were writhing and moaning in obvious pain.