Isis says it will release video of top Taliban cleric’s assassination

·2-min read
File. Taliban fighters celebrate one year since they seized the Afghan capital, Kabul, in front of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022  (Associated Press)
File. Taliban fighters celebrate one year since they seized the Afghan capital, Kabul, in front of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022 (Associated Press)

Islamic State Khorasan Province [ISKP] is planning to release a video of the assassination of Rahimullah Haqqani, a prominent Afghan cleric who supported the Taliban as well as education of girls.

According to the ISKP’s media wing Al-Azaim Foundation — which published the eighth issue of the group’s mouthpiece Khurasan Ghag magazine — the video will be aimed at winning the Salafist support and undermining the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

Haqqani had been a critic of ISKP. He was killed in an attack last month when a man detonated explosives hidden in an artificial plastic limb.

A senior Taliban official told Reuters at the time: “It’s a very huge loss for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.

Haqqani had previously survived at least two assassination attempts, more recently in 2020 when IS claimed responsibility for an explosion at a religious school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar that killed at least seven people.

The ISKP’s magazine carried the cover photo of its slain spokesperson Maqbool Orakzai aka Abu Kumar Maqbool who had earlier also served as a senior spokesperson for Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan.

ISKP — the IS’s regional affiliate — has remained a formidable armed actor in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over Kabul more than a year ago.

More recently, IS Khorasan Province accused the Taliban of failing to protect Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul or even being complicit in the attack.

Riccardo Valle, an Italian researcher tracking ISKP and its jihadi propaganda, told Voice of America that “the ISKP’s attacks have been occurring on the country’s northern parts, including Balkh, Kunduz, Takhar, and Mazar Sharif, where the terror group was less active before Kabul fell in August last year”. He added that in the past year, the ISKP has increased its attacks on Taliban leaders and supporters.

ISKP has also increased its attacks on the Shia community in Afghanistan.