The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed the governor of Balkh province in northern Afghanistan and two other people in his office.
The Islamic State’s regional affiliate – known as the Islamic State of Khorasan Province – is a major rival of the Taliban. The armed group has increased its attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the country in August 2021. Targets have included Taliban patrols and members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority.
Local police spokesman Mohammad Asif Waziri said Thursday’s attack in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif killed three people, including Governor Dawood Muzammil, and wounded four others.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack late Thursday, naming the perpetrator as Abdul Haq Khorasani.
It added that Khorasani went through all the security procedures to enter the official building and carry out the attack.
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Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said Muzammil was killed “by the enemies of Islam”. He said an investigation was underway, but did not provide further details.
Muzammil is one of the top Taliban officials killed since they took power in mid-August 2021 when US and NATO forces withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.
In recent months, the Taliban have cracked down on the Islamic State group. Their security forces killed several regional members, including commanders, in separate operations in February.
According to Mujahid, Taliban forces have also detained ISIS elements, including foreign nationals planning deadly attacks, during raids.
In January, eight ISIS militants were killed and nine others arrested in raids targeting high-profile people in Kabul and Nimruz provinces.
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