Attacks in Afghanistan kill 4, including religious scholar

March 31, 2021 GMT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A series of bombings and shootings in Afghanistan killed at least four people on Wednesday, including a religious leader and an army officer, officials said.

In one of the attacks, in northern Takhar province, an explosion targeted targeted the vehicle of Mawlavi Abdul Samad Mohammadi, the head of the province’s Ulema Council, the top religious body in the area.

Khalil Aser, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said the blast took place in the provincial capital of Taleqan and was caused by a so-called sticky bomb attached to the cleric’s car. The cleric was returning home from attending a graduation ceremony. Three people were also wounded in that attack, Aser said.


Separately, a bombing in northern Balkh province killed two people on Wednesday, including a child, and wounded 16. Adil Shah Adil, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said the bomb was placed inside a cart and was remotely detonated.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the Takhar and Balkh bombings.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a statement condemned the attacks.

“Targeting religious scholars and killing civilians, especially children, is a crime against humanity and Islamic values,” said a statement released by Ghani’s office. It blamed the Taliban, claiming the attacks show the insurgents “do not believe in peace.”

The Taliban did not comment on the two bombings.

Also Wednesday, the Taliban ambushed a military convoy on a main highway linking Logar and Paktia provinces, killing an army officer. The Taliban promptly claimed responsibility for that attack.

Col. Faridoon Fayaz, unit commander of southeastern provinces, was on his way to his office when he was fatally shot in the ambush, said an army official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. The official said one of the colonel’s bodyguards was wounded in the attack.

Afghanistan has seen a nationwide spike in bombings, targeted killings, and violence on the battlefield as peace negotiations in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan government have stalled.

The Islamic State group’s local affiliate has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, but many go unclaimed, with the government putting the blame on the Taliban. The insurgents have denied responsibility for most of the attacks.