Taliban’s Balkh province governor killed in blast blamed on enemies

Taliban's Balkh province governor killed in blast blamed on enemies
Taliban fighters stand guard on a bridge in Kabul, AfghanistanGetty Images

The Taliban governor of Afghanistan’s northern Balkh province has been killed in an explosion at his office.

Mohammad Dawood Muzammil is the most senior official to be killed since the Taliban returned to power in 2021.

Violence has decreased sharply since then, but there has been a string of attacks on prominent pro-Taliban figures and other targets.

Local police said what caused Thursday’s blast was unclear. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the governor had been “martyred in an explosion by the enemies of Islam”. An investigation is under way, he added.

Muzammil is reported to have led the fight against Islamic State militants in his previous posting as governor of the eastern province of Nangarhar. He was moved to Balkh last October.

Police said at least one other person also died in the attack. A number of others are reported to have been injured. Unconfirmed reports say it was a suicide attack.

It comes a day after provincial Taliban authorities claimed they had killed eight “rebels and kidnappers” in Mazar-e Sharif, the Balkh provincial capital. They did not, however, specify which “rebel” group these individuals were allegedly affiliated to.

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