A prominent Afghan cleric aligned with the Taliban was killed in a suicide bombing in a seminary in Kabul when the attacker detonated explosives hidden in an artificial leg on Thursday, officials and Taliban sources said.
ISIS claimed responsibility for Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani’s killing, saying that he had been inciting violence against the militant Islamist group, Al Jazeera reported.
“Very sadly informed that respected cleric (Haqqani) was martyred in a cowardly attack by enemies,” said Bilal Karimi, a spokesperson for the Taliban administration.
Four Taliban sources told Reuters the attacker was someone who had previously lost his leg and had hidden the bomb in his prosthetic limb.
“We are investigating who this … person was and who had brought him to this important place to enter the personal office of Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani. It’s a very huge loss for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” said one senior Taliban official of the interior ministry, referring to the group’s name for its administration.
Haqqani was a prominent cleric in the Taliban who supported giving women and girls access to education, which has been a contentious issue in Afghanistan.
“There is no justification in the sharia (law)to say female education is not allowed,” he said in an interview with the BBC earlier this year. “No justification at all.”
Haqqani explained: “All the religious books have stated female education is permissible and obligatory, because, for example, if a woman gets sick, in an Islamic environment like Afghanistan or Pakistan, and needs treatment, it’s much better if she’s treated by a female doctor.”
He had survived two previous attacks, including a large blast in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar in 2020 claimed by ISIS that killed at least seven people.
The Taliban say they have restored security since they took over as foreign forces withdrew almost a year ago. However, regular attacks, many of them claimed by ISIS militants, have taken place in recent months, often targeting religious and ethnic minorities as well as Taliban leaders.
With Post wires
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