The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed the governor of Afghanistan’s northern province of Balkh and two other people in his office.
IS’s regional affiliate, known as Islamic State in Khorasan province, is a key rival of the Taliban. The militant 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 Shia minority.
Thursday’s attack in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif killed three people, including Governor Daud Muzmal, and injured four others, local police spokesman Mohammad Asif Waziri said.
The Islamic State on Thursday claimed responsibility for the attack, naming the attacker Abdul Haq al-Khorasani.
He said Khorasani passed all security measures to enter the official building and carry out the attack.
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Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s main spokesman, said Muzmal was killed “by enemies of Islam”. He said an investigation was underway but did not provide further details.
Muzmal is one of the highest-ranking Taliban officials killed since they took power in mid-August 2021 as US and NATO forces withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.
In recent months, the Taliban have cracked down on IS. Their security forces killed several regional members, including leaders, in separate operations in February.
Taliban forces have also detained IS members, including foreign nationals planning deadly attacks, during the raids, according to Mujahid.
In January, eight IS militants were killed and nine others arrested in raids on key figures in Kabul and Nimroz provinces.