On March 7, a provincial director of Nangarhar’s Hajj and Religious Affairs department, Mohammad Zahir Haqqani, was killed along with one of his bodyguards when a suicide bomber attacked his vehicle in the capital of Nangarhar, Jalalabad, according to the Afghan TOLO TV. The TOLO TV said that several civilians had been also injured in the attack.
Few hours after the attack, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq confirmed that ISIS had been behind the assassination of Haqqani. Amaq also claimed that five of Haqqani’s bodyguards had been killed.
The assassination reflects the growing influence of ISIS in Nangarhar province and shows that the terrorist group can now strike accurately even in the capital of the province.
The ISIS activity in Nangarhar province is not only focused against the Afghan government and the NATO, but also against the Taliban. On March 7 only, ISIS members killed two fighters of the Taliban in a hit and run attack in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar, according to Amaq.
The NATO is yet to take any steps to counter the growing threat of ISIS in Nangarhar. Some Afghan politicians as well as officials of the Iranian government have accused the US of supporting ISIS cells in Afghanistan.