Published15 minutes ago
The Taliban governor of Afghanistan’s northern Balkh province has been killed in a suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
Mohammad Dawood Muzammil was killed in his office in the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, on Thursday.
He is the most senior Taliban official to be killed since the militants returned to power in 2021.
Violence has since decreased sharply, but pro-Taliban figures have been targeted by IS.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the governor had been “martyred in an explosion by the enemies of Islam”.
Muzammil had led the fight against IS in his previous posting as governor of the eastern province of Nangarhar. He was moved to Balkh last October.
Balkh police spokesperson Mohammed Asif Waziri said the explosion occurred on Thursday morning on the second floor of the governor’s office.
“There was a bang. I fell on the ground,” Khairuddin, who was wounded in the blast, told AFP news agency. He said he had seen a friend lose a hand in the explosion.
Later on Thursday, IS said one of its soldiers had managed to enter the building and detonate his suicide belt. Some security guards were also killed in the blast, the statement added.
A day earlier provincial Taliban authorities said they had killed eight “rebels and kidnappers” in Mazar-e Sharif.
The Taliban were ousted as Afghanistan’s rulers in 2001 – the militant Islamist group swept back to power in August 2021 after US-led forces pulled out.
A string of deadly bomb blasts since then has mainly targeted mosques and minority communities, many claimed by the regional affiliate of the militant Islamic State (IS-K) group, who are bitter rivals of the Taliban.