Two German soldiers and at least two other senior Afghan officials were reported to have died in the attack. Several others were injured.
Major General Markus Kneip, commander of Nato forces in northern Afghanistan, received wounds that were severe but not life-threatening. He is one of the few high-ranking international military officers to have become casualties in Afghanistan since the conflict there began in 2001.
The Afghan police chief killed in the attack was General Mohammed Daoud Daoud, a controversial figure who had served as deputy minister of the interior for narcotics before being posted as police chief in the north.
Daoud had been bodyguard for the guerrilla leader Ahmed Shah Massoud who was killed by suicide bombers in 2001.
The deputy director of the local council in the province of Takhar, where the attack took place, Mujeebullah Rahman, said that it happened at around 4pm when a meeting called to discuss local security operations broke up.