A suicide bomber with explosives hidden under her burka killed 15 people and wounded 22 others in a crowded market in the southwestern Afghanistan town of Farah on Thursday, a provincial official said.

Farah official Younus Rasoul said the bomber struck in Dilaram district, killing three police officers and 12 civilians.

According to BBC News, the bomber walked into the area on foot, detonating her explosives in front of the police station located in the market in Farah, which borders the Helmand and Herat provinces.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility, saying the target was a police commander, the BBC said. The Afghan interior ministry condemned the attack.

Afghanistan is battling insurgency violence in recent months, with an estimated 1,200 people killed in 2008, according to a tally done by the Associated Press. Most of the victims were insurgents.

The UN says more than 8,000 people died in insurgency-related violence in Afghanistan in 2007.

With files from the Associated Press