Hamdullah Mokhlis, a Taliban military commander in Kabul, was killed after his men responded to an Islamic State attack on a hospital, officials told AFP on Wednesday.
Mokhlis was a member of the hardline Haqqani network and an officer in the Badri Corps special forces. Sources said Mokhlis is the most senior figure to have been killed ever since Taliban seized the capital.
On Tuesday, two explosions hit the entrance of the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan military hospital, followed by heavy gunfire.
ISIS CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY
The Taliban’s rivals, the Islamic State group, claimed responsibility for the gun and bomb assault in the centre of the capital.
Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) said in a statement on its Telegram channels that “five Islamic State group fighters carried out simultaneous coordinated attacks” on the sprawling site.
“The IS insurgents wanted to target civilians, doctors and patients in the hospital,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, claiming that Taliban forces had repulsed the attack within 15 minutes.
As part of the response, he said, Taliban “special forces” were dropped onto the roof of the hospital from one of the helicopters that the group seized from Afghanistan’s former US-backed government.
The attack got under way when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the facility’s entrance. Gunmen then broke into the hospital grounds, firing their weapons.