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Taliban Cleric Killed In Explosion At Religious School In Kabul


Rahimullah Haqqani was an important Taliban supporter and a famous scholar of Hanafi Islam.

A prominent Hanafi cleric and supporter of the Taliban has been killed in an explosion in Kabul, a spokesman for the Taliban-led government said on August 11.

Rahimullah Haqqani was killed "in an attack carried out by a cowardly enemy" in his religious school, said Bilal Karimi, the deputy spokesman for the Taliban government.

The government has not commented further on the attack, which several news reports said was carried out by a suicide bomber inside Haqqani's madrasah, a school for religious education.

One of Haqqani's brothers was also killed in the attack, said Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran. Three other people were wounded, Zadran said.

The extremist Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to its channel on Telegram.

Haqqani was one of the most "prominent advocates for the Taliban and one of the biggest of them who incited to fight," the jihadist-monitoring SITE Intelligence Group said, quoting a statement from Islamic State.

RFE/RL's Radio Azadi quoted a source as saying a disabled person attacked Haqqani and that at least six other people were killed.

The attacker was someone who had previously lost his leg and hid the explosives in a plastic prosthesis, according to Reuters, quoting four unidentified sources.

Haqqani, originally from Nangarhar Province, was an important Taliban supporter and a famous scholar of Hanafi Islam. He was known for having heated religious discussions with Salafi religious scholars.

Although nothing is known about Haqqani's official position in the Taliban government, he was said to be a member of the Taliban Ulama Council.

He had hundreds of religious students in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and some of the current ruling Taliban officials are also among his students.

"Rahimullah Haqqani was an admirer of Taliban suicide bombers in the past, and eventually he became a victim of a suicide attack himself," Sami Yousafzai, an Afghan journalist told Radio Azadi.

Another famous scholar of the Salafist religion, Sardar Wali Saqib, was mysteriously killed on July 13 at his home in Kabul.

Saqib's assassination sparked numerous reactions from religious scholars inside and outside the country.

With reporting by AFP
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    RFE/RL's Radio Azadi

    RFE/RL's Radio Azadi is one of the most popular and trusted media outlets in Afghanistan. Nearly half of the country's adult audience accesses Azadi's reporting on a weekly basis.