Suicide Bomber Hits Taliban’s Political Base in Southern Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD — A rare suicide bombing in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar, known as the Taliban’s political headquarters, killed at least three people and injured more than a dozen early Thursday.

Taliban authorities said the victims had gathered outside the officially run New Kabul Bank to receive their salaries when a suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body.

Witnesses and local officials reported that the wounded were taken to a local hospital, with some sustaining serious injuries. A Taliban Interior Ministry spokesperson in the Afghan capital, Kabul, said the attack was under investigation.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing.

The reclusive Taliban supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, lives in Kandahar, the historical birthplace of his fundamentalist group, and effectively governs Afghanistan from there.

The men-only Taliban government in Kabul merely implements decrees that Akhundzada routinely issues from Kandahar. He rarely leaves the city.

Akhundzada has banned Afghan girls from receiving an education beyond the sixth grade and has barred many women from public and private workplaces and public life at large.

The Taliban waged an insurgency and reclaimed power in August 2021 when the United States-led foreign forces withdrew from the country after 20 years of involvement in the Afghan war.

The de facto rulers have effectively suppressed or cornered Afghan opposition groups, but a regional affiliate of the Islamic State terrorist group, known as IS-Khorasan or Daesh, routinely plots and claims attacks targeting members of the Taliban and the country’s minority Shiite community. 

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