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Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani killed – the Taliban cleric who was a vocal supporter of female education

Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani – a prominent Taliban cleric and critic of the jihadist militant group Islamic State of Kohrasan Province, was killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul.

Photo: Twitter

Prominent Afghan Taliban cleric Rahimullah Haqqani was killed on Thursday in a suicide attack at his madrassah in Kabul. The local wing of the Islamic State terror group called ISIS-Khorasan has claimed the murder. The killing has brought the violent focus to the fact that violence has not ceased in the war-torn country, with the ruling Taliban and ISIS clashing.
Rahimullah Haqqani is widely known as a staunch supporter of the Taliban and for his fiery speeches against ISIS. After the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, he gained attention for his apparently, and relatively, progressive attitude to the education of women and girls. However, it should be noted that he held no official position in the Taliban and had no affiliation with the Haqqani family or their eponymous Haqqani network.

Taliban sources told international news agencies that a suicide bomber blew himself up in Haqqani’s office at his madrassah in Kabul, killing at least two others. They said investigations are underway to determine the identity of the attacker and who allowed him to get an invitation into Haqqani’s office. The Taliban also said the explosives were hidden in the bomber’s false leg, who was allegedly an amputee.

Haqqani is believed to spend most of his time in the relative safety of Peshawar in Pakistan, traveling to Kabul only occasionally. In a recent BBC interview, Haqqani appeared to support the need for girls’ and women’s education, even as he made sure to avoid the ongoing closure of girls’ schools.
“There is no justification in Sharia to say that women’s education is not allowed. No justification whatsoever,” the BBC said in a report on women’s education in the country. “All the religious books say that education for women is allowed and compulsory because for example if a woman gets sick in an Islamic environment like Afghanistan or Pakistan and needs treatment, it is much better if she is treated by a female doctor. ” he would have added by way of justification.

The killing of Haqqani is a lie against the Taliban’s claims that they have restored order in Afghanistan. With the exception of American troops, the fighting seems to continue unabated. Reports among close Afghan observers and those who track terrorism suggest that a number of personnel and troops serving in the intelligence and military forces of the previous US-backed government have joined ISIS-K to continue fighting the Taliban.

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The conflict between the Taliban and ISIS-K underscores the underlying currents of tribalism, clans and regional groups in Islamist violence, often lazily portrayed by most outsiders as more of the same.

The conflict between the two groups also marks the turning point of an era. What started as an uprising against the Soviet Union in the 1980s under the common banner of Islamism and then caused trouble in the rest of the world, has now turned inward. Those who settled for an easy understanding of the conflict as radical Islamists versus the rest of the world are likely to be shocked at how brutally sectarian conflict between Muslims can be.

The battle between the Taliban and ISIS-K is likely to continue for a few more years. So far, the conflict has been largely confined to areas in the east of the country and the southwest and northwest, along the border with Iran. Khorasan is the name historically used by Arabs for the region that includes Iran and Afghanistan. If reports of certain groups joining ISIS-K prove true, fighting could spread across the country, increasing pressure on the Taliban regime.



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