CAIRO — The extremist Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bombings targeting Taliban vehicles in eastern Afghanistan.
The claim, published late Sunday on the militant group’s media arm, the Aamaq news agency, signals a growing threat to the Taliban by their long-time rivals.
At least eight people, including several Taliban fighters, were killed in the attacks on Sunday and Saturday in the provincial city of Jalalabad, an IS stronghold.
The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in a blitz campaign last month, overrunning the capital of Kabul while U.S. and NATO were in the final phase of withdrawing their troops. The last foreign soldiers left Aug. 30.
The Taliban now face major economic and security challenges in trying to govern Afghanistan, and an accelerated campaign of IS attacks will further complicate those efforts. The Taliban and IS extremists were enemies before foreign troops left Afghanistan.
Both groups subscribe to a harsh interpretation of Islam, but the Taliban have focused on taking control of Afghanistan, while IS affiliates in Afghanistan and elsewhere call for global jihad.
MORE ON AFGHANISTAN:
— Fearful US residents in Afghanistan hiding out from Taliban
— Afghan survivors of errant US drone strike seek probe
— Taliban replace ministry for women with ‘virtue’ authorities
— Pentagon reverses itself, calls deadly Kabul strike an error
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
KABUL, Afghanistan — The interim mayor of Afghanistan’s capital says many female city employees have been ordered to stay home by the country’s new Taliban rulers.
Hamdullah Namony told reporters on Sunday that only women who could not be replaced by men have been permitted to report to work. He says this includes skilled workers in the design and engineering departments as well as female attendants of public toilets for women.
Namony’s comments were another sign that the Taliban are enforcing their harsh interpretation of Islam, including restrictions on women in public life, despite their initial promises of tolerance and inclusion. During their previous rule in the 1990s, the Taliban had barred girls and women from schools and jobs.
The mayor says a final decision about female employees in Kabul municipal departments is still pending, and that they would draw their salaries in the meantime.
He says that before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last month, just under a third of close to 3,000 city employees were women who worked in all departments.
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