Afghanistan: Taliban governor of Balkh province killed in suicide attack, say police


The governor of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan’s Balkh province was killed in a blast at his office on Thursday (March 9) morning. Governor Mohammad Dawood Muzammil and one other person were killed in a suicide attack. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Two people, including Mohammad Dawood Muzammil, the governor of Balkh, have been killed in an explosion this morning on the second floor of his office, in the provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif,” police spokesman Asif Waziri told AFP.

“It was a suicide attack. We don’t have information as to how the suicide bomber reached the office of the governor,” he said, adding that two people were also wounded.

The incident occurred at around 9:30 am when the governor arrived at his office from home.

“When the governor was coming to his office, the man blew himself up in the office. The governor and a local man were martyred. A mujahid along with another civilian was injured,” said officials as per Dawn. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Taliban government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that Muzammil was martyred in an explosion by the ‘enemies of Islam’ and investigation is under way. 

Mohammad Dawood Muzammil is one of the highest-ranking Taliban officials to be killed in such a circumstance since the group took over Afghanistan in 2021. Muzammil was initially appointed as the governor of the eastern province of Nangarhar where he led the fight against the Islamic State before he was moved to Balkh last year. 

Muzammil’s death comes a day after he met two deputy prime ministers and other senior officials visiting Balkh to review a major irrigation project in northern Afghanistan, a government statement said, AFP reported. 

The fatal attack on the Balkh governor also comes a day after provincial Taliban authorities claimed they had killed eight ‘rebels and kidnappers’ in Mazar-e Sharif, the Balkh provincial capital but had not specified the name of the ‘rebel’ group to which the individuals were allegedly affiliated to.

Violence across Afghanistan has dramatically dropped since the Taliban came to power. However, the security situation in the war-torn country has again deteriorated with the Islamic State claiming several deadly attacks.

Several attacks have rocked the Balkh province, some claimed by the Islamic State. In December last year, a roadside bomb killed seven petroleum company employees aboard a bus in Mazar-i-Sharif city of the province. Also in December, 19 people were killed and 24 injured by a blast at a madrassa in Aybak, southeast of the city. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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