Hanif Rezaee, an Afghan army spokesman, said that Taliban shells struck the market, situated in the Khwaja Sabz Posh district of Faryab Province.
The Taliban, he added, had been trying to hit an army checkpoint near the market.
“Fourteen civilians were killed and 40 — including women and children — were wounded,” Rezaee said.
Meanwhile, Naem Musamim, Faryab’s public health director, said that the injured had been taken to local hospitals.
Abdul Karim Yuresh, Faryab provincial police chief spokesman, stressed that the likely target of Friday’s attack was a nearby security post.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed, however, claimed that the mortars were fired by the government during a gunfight.
The attack as the Taliban and the US have held talks — excluding the Kabul government — in the Qatari capital Doha to resolve the crisis in the war-torn country.
The two sides held their seventh round of talks last week. The US-Taliban peace talks are led by US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, who has held six rounds of the discussions in Doha since October 2018.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terror. Some 18 years on, Washington is seeking truce with the militants as the Taliban has only boosted its campaign of violence across the country.
In April, the Taliban announced the beginning of its spring offensive in Afghanistan despite involvement in the peace talks with the US.