Bomb concealed inside an artificial leg kills a prominent Afghan cleric

Afghanistan: Well-known Taliban cleric Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani was killed in an attack on Thursday in Kabul, an intelligence official claims. The death was confirmed by Abdul Rahman, the district's intelligence chief in the blast-hit district of the Afghan capital.

According to four Taliban sources, the attack took place at a religious seminary in the Afghan capital, when a man who had lost his leg earlier hid explosives in a plastic prosthetic leg. It was not immediately known who was responsible for the blast and sources said the Taliban were investigating it.

At his madrasa, a suicide bomber killed the senior cleric, who according to police was known for his loud speeches condemning the jihadist Islamic State (IS) organization.

Haqqani, who recently publicly advocated for girls' education rights, had already survived at least two assassination attempts, one in Pakistan in October 2020.

"He is the lone martyr," according to Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran, adding that at least four other people were injured in the blast.

A government spokesman, Bilal Karimi, confirmed his death "in an attack by a cowardly enemy", but gave no further details.

According to Taliban sources, Haqqani was a key figure who had mentored many members of the group over the years, despite holding no official position.
Several Taliban leaders posted their condolences on social media.

Mobin Khan, a former Kabul police spokesman, tweeted: "You have taken care of your obligation. The Muslim community has been left out, but fate cannot be stopped."

Since the Taliban's return to power in August last year, IS has carried out several attacks in Afghanistan, and Haqqani was known for his fiery speeches against them.

He has also recently supported the right of girls to go to school. In a May interview with the BBC, she said: "There is no justification in Sharia to ban female education. There is no justification."

In line with its strict interpretation of Islam, the Taliban have imposed severe sanctions on girls and women since seizing power a year ago. In much of the country, they have not allowed secondary schools for girls to reopen.

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