Afghan policemen evacuate a wounded person after a suicide bomber struck outside a provincial council’s headquarters in Pul-i-Khumri, Baghlan province, northern Afghanistan, Monday. (Jawed Basharat/AP)

A local Afghan leader who had been involved in efforts to defeat the Taliban was killed Monday in a suicide bombing that left 13 others dead, including the bomber, officials said.

Mohammad Rasoul Mohseni was the head of the provincial council in Baghlan province in northeastern Afghanistan, a picturesque farming area that has been relatively peaceful and secure in the past.

Police said the suicide bomber detonated his explosives after walking up to Mohseni and a group of people standing with him outside his office in a government compound in the provincial capital, Pul-i-Khumri. Nine people were injured.

In brief text messages to The Washington Post and other media organizations, a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack. It followed a spate of scattered bombings and armed assaults that have killed dozens of people since the country’s major Islamist insurgent group announced a spring offensive in April.

Although the Taliban is based in southern Afghanistan, it has steadily been widening the scope of its guerrilla activities in recent months, attacking a police checkpost one day in the far west, and bombing a government facility a few days later in the northeast.

Officials said Mohseni had been an important figure in the Afghan government’s anti-Taliban alliance.