Taliban cleric killed in blast in Kabul – officials

KABUL/PESHAWAR, Aug 11 (Reuters) – Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani, a prominent Taliban cleric, was killed at a seminary in Kabul on Thursday when an assailant detonated explosives hidden in a plastic prosthetic leg, officials and Taliban sources said.

Bilal Karimi, a spokesman for the Taliban administration, said, “It is with great regret that the respected cleric (Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani) has been martyred in a cowardly attack by the enemy.”

It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast.

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Four Taliban sources told Reuters that the attacker was someone who had previously lost his leg and had hidden explosives in a plastic prosthetic leg.

“We are investigating… who was this person and who brought him to this important place to enter Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani’s personal office. This is a great loss for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” a senior Taliban official said. Ministry of Interior, refers to the name of the group for its administration.

Haqqani was a prominent cleric in the Taliban who in 2020 was involved in a major explosion in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar, claimed by the Islamic State, that killed at least seven people.

The Taliban say they have restored security since the withdrawal of foreign troops nearly a year ago. However, regular attacks, many of them claimed by the Islamic State, have occurred in recent months, often targeting religious and ethnic minorities as well as Taliban leaders.

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Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar in Kabul and Jibran Ahmed in Peshawar; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Raisa Kasolowski and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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