updated 5/15/2008 3:04:37 AM ET 2008-05-15T07:04:37

A suicide bomber wearing a burqa blew himself up at a crowded market in western Afghanistan on Thursday, killing 15 people and wounding 22 others, an official said.

The bomber struck in Dilaram district of Farah province, said provincial official Younus Rasoul.

Three policemen, including a district police chief, and 12 civilians were among the dead. Police tried to stop the bomber seconds before he exploded, Rasoul said.

Afghanistan is battling a Taliban-led insurgency that is strongest in its east and south.

Militants launched more than 140 suicide bombings in the country in 2007, and many of those killed in the attacks have been civilians.

At least 1,200 people — mostly militants — have died in insurgency-related violence in 2008, according to a tally compiled by The Associated Press. The United Nations says more than 8,000 people, most of them militants, died in insurgency-related violence in 2007.

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