Terrorism & Insurgency

Assassination attempt against Afghan Taliban leader indicates factional conflict and greater Islamic State capability after US withdrawal

20 August 2019

On 16 August, at least four people were killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack at a mosque in Kuchlak in Pakistan's Balochistan province. Among the dead was the brother of Afghan Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzada, who was also scheduled to be at the mosque, according to unconfirmed Pakistani media reports, indicating the Taliban leader was probably the primary target of the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility, but unconfirmed reports that an Islamic State-associated cleric was shot dead on 17 August by Taliban militants following the assassination attempt points to the involvement of Islamic State's Afghanistan-based faction, Wilayah Khorasan.

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