KABUL - A remotely-detonated bomb ripped through a bazaar in northwestern Afghanistan on Monday, killing nine civilians, including a provincial councillor, and injuring eight other people, police said. The blast in Ghormach district in the province of Faryab which is relatively peaceful was the latest in a string of deadly bombings and suicide attacks since Taliban insurgents announced the start of their spring offensive earlier this month.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but similar attacks in the past have been blamed on the Taliban, which has waged a 10-year insurgency aimed at toppling Kabul’s US-backed government.

“A remote-controlled bomb planted by the terrorists and enemies of Afghanistan... detonated today before noon when our countrymen were busy shopping in the market,” a statement from the interior ministry said.

“As a result of the incident, seven civilians were killed, including provincial council member Amanullah Shahabzai, and eight other civilians were wounded.”

However police said the remote-controlled bomb killed eight civilians and council member Amanullah Shahabzai as they sat in front of a pharmacy.

Now in its 11th year, the Taliban-led insurgency has expanded to most of the country from traditional strongholds in southern and eastern Afghanistan along the rugged border with Pakistan.