Taliban cleric Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani killed in a blast, ISIS claims responsibility
Kabul, Aug 11: Prominent Taliban cleric Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani was killed in an explosion at a school in Afghanistan's Kabul on Thursday.
"Very sadly informed that respected cleric (Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani) was martyred in a cowardly attack by enemies," Reuters quoted Bilal Karimi, a spokesperson for the Taliban administration, as saying.
Hours later, ISIS claimed the attack on its telegram channels, saying the bomber had detonated his explosive vest inside the office of the cleric.
In the recent years, Rahimullah Haqqani, who had recently spoken publicly in favour of girls being allowed to attend school, survived at least two assassination attempts, including one in Pakistan in October 2020.
Even though Haqqani, who was known for his fiery speeches, held no official position, he was an influential figure who had taught many of the group's members over the years, Taliban sources informed the news agency.
The United Nations has condemned the recent blasts in Afghanistan that have killed and injured more than 120 people. "Following the Islamic State-claimed blasts in Kabul in recent days that killed and injured more than 120 people, the UN family in Afghanistan urges greater security for minorities so that Ashura can be marked without further attacks," the UN Assistance Mission (UNAMA) tweeted.
The US also condemned the ISIS-K-claimed attacks during Ashura, which targeted Hazara and Shia-majority areas in Kabul.
Afghanistan has witnessed a series of blasts in recent weeks. The blasts have occurred in a number of areas in the capital city of Kabul including Chandawal, Pul-e-Sokhta and Sarkariz. At least three people were killed and seven others suffered injuries in a blast that occurred near the Pul-e-Sokhta area in the west of Kabul on August 6 local media reported citing the statement of the commander of PD6 in Kabul, Mawlawi Zabihullah.