Islamic State Claims Attack That Killed Taliban Police Chief In Badakhshan

By RFE/RL's Radio Azadi

The Islamic State (IS) militant group has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed a key Taliban security official on December 26 in the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan.

Regional security chief Abdulhaq Abu Omar and two others were killed in a car-bomb attack that took place near the regional police headquarters in Faizabad, the province's capital and largest city, according to the Taliban's acting Interior Ministry.

Badakhshan Province is bordered by Tajikistan to the north, China to the east, and Pakistan in the southeast.

The ministry's spokesman, Abdul Nafi Takur, told RFE/RL that four suspects had been arrested in connection with the incident, which he said was carried out using a vehicle fitted with a mine in a high-speed attack.

According to a statement released by the IS mouthpiece Amaq, militants had closely monitored Omar's movements before carrying out the attack.

Omar is believed to be the highest-ranking Taliban security official slain since the hard-line Islamist group returned to power in August 2021 following the withdrawal of the U.S.-led international forces from Afghanistan.

The Taliban-led government has dealt with a constant stream of violence since returning to power. Some attacks, including in Afghanistan's north, have been attributed to the IS affiliate Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K).

IS-K earlier this this month claimed responsibility for a coordinated attack on a Chinese-owned hotel in the Afghan capital, Kabul, which left three assailants dead and at least two guests wounded.

The attack on the Kabul Longan Hotel prompted the Chinese government to urge its citizens to leave Afghanistan.

An armed anti-Taliban resistance movement, known as the National Resistance Front (NRF), has also been established in the country and has been active in northern Afghanistan.

Khair Mohammad Khairkhwa, the most senior NRF commander, was killed alongside dozens of his fighters following a protracted battle with the Taliban in northern Baghlan Province, after apparently running out of ammunition, an NRF spokesman said on December 27.

With reporting by dpa and AP