The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed the governor of Afghanistan’s northern Balkh province and two others in his office.
IS’s regional affiliate – known as the Islamic State in Khorasan province – is a major rival of the Taliban. The militant group has increased its attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover of the country in August 2021. Targets have included Taliban patrols and members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority.
Local police spokesman Mohammad Asif Waziri said three people, including governor Daoud Mujmal, were killed and four others wounded in Thursday’s attack in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack late on Thursday and named the attacker as Abdul Haq al-Khurasani.
It said Khorasani overcame all security measures to enter the official building and carry out the attack.
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The Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that Mujmal was killed “by the enemies of Islam”. He said an investigation was ongoing, but gave no further details.
Muzamal is one of the most senior Taliban officials killed since taking power in mid-August 2021, as US and NATO forces pulled out of Afghanistan after 20 years of war.
In recent months, the Taliban have clamped down on IS. His security forces killed several regional members, including leaders, in separate operations in February.
According to Mujahid, Taliban forces also detained IS members including foreign nationals planning deadly attacks during the raid.
In January, eight IS militants were killed and nine others arrested in raids targeting key figures in Kabul and Nimroz provinces.
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