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ISIS planning to target senior Taliban leaders

AT News

KABUL – Taliban’s Interior Minister has warned in a letter about imminent attacks planned by Islamic State (ISIS) militants against senior Taliban leaders, provincial governors, and various officials.

Abdul Mateen Qaneh, the spokesperson for the Taliban’s interior ministry, confirmed the authenticity of the letter on Tuesday. However, he refrained from divulging further details regarding the potential threats.

The letter, delivered on July 9, was circulated among the Taliban’s police command across Afghanistan. It revealed that ISIS fighters were planning suicide attacks and bombings to target provincial governors, chiefs, and civilian leaders of the Taliban at their offices and residences. Meanwhile, certain high-ranking Taliban members, such as Acting Defense Minister Mullah Yaqoob, had traveled to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of offering the Haj pilgrimage.

Notably, prior to this warning, another letter from the Taliban’s interior ministry had gained significant traction on social media. This letter claimed that a group of ISIS-affiliated fighters intended to enter Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Previously, the Taliban had downplayed the security threats posed by ISIS, but the de facto authorities of Afghanistan now view ISIS as a major menace surpassing other anti-Taliban groups. Western security officials have reported that the ISIS Khorasan branch had previously lost its operational capabilities within Afghanistan. However, it appears that ISIS insurgents are now attempting to target senior Taliban officials through suicide attacks, aiming to demonstrate their capabilities.

The killing of Mohammad Dawood Muzamil, the former Balkh governor, and a former Deputy Governor of Badakhshan province in separate suicide attacks serve as clear examples of ISIS fighters’ operations in different parts of the country. Over the past two decades, the Taliban has employed similar tactics to assassinate former government officials and political figures, and they have consistently hailed the effectiveness of such methods.

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