Eight people killed at Taliban funeral in bomb attack blamed on Islamic State branch in Afghanistan
A bomb attack on the funeral of the Taliban spokesman’s mother yesterday killed at least eight people in an apparent escalation of the Islamic State’s feud with Afghanistan’s new rulers.
Eyewitnesses heard an explosion followed by gunfire at the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul. Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said “a number of civilians” died in the blast, which struck near the entrance of the mosque.
The funeral was being held for Mr Mujahid’s mother, and had been posted on social media as one where “all people and friends are invited to attend”.
The mosque is less than a kilometre from the defence ministry and the presidential palace. Journalist Bilal-Sarwary tweeted that it was a “major security and intelligence failure” for the Taliban.
Mr Mujahid, whose true identity was kept a secret until the Taliban takeover, recently told a newspaper that he joined the Taliban at 16 and lived in Kabul “under the nose” of American soldiers.
He has been the face of the Taliban’s takeover to the outside world, leading early press conferences promising the movement had changed since its brutal 1990s regime.
Many of his early pledges, including on women’s rights, have not been implemented.
Taliban officials said he had been inside the mosque but was unharmed. Twitter yesterday suspended Mr Mujahid’s account, citing “unusual activity”.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bomb, though analysts suspect the Islamic State offshoot, Islamic State in Khorasan Province (IS-K).
“In what seems likely to be the latest escalation of #ISKP’s campaign against the #Taliban, someone has just bombed the funeral of the mother of #Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in #Kabul,” tweeted Charlie Winter, at security firm ExTrac.