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ISIS claims responsibility for bombing that killed a dozen police officers in Afghanistan

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May 9, 2024

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a bombing in Afghanistan’s northeast that killed police officers who were part of an anti-poppy crop campaign.

A motorcycle was booby-trapped and exploded, targeting a Taliban patrol in Faizabad town in Badakhshan province, killing and wounding 12 members of the patrol as well as destroying a four-wheel drive vehicle, the group said in a statement late Wednesday.

Abdul Mateen Qani, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the officers were on their way to destroy poppy crops in the area.

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The Islamic State group’s affiliate in Afghanistan, a major Taliban rival, has conducted attacks on schools, hospitals, mosques and Shiite areas throughout the country. In March, the group said one of its suicide bombers detonated an explosive belt among Taliban gathered near a Kandahar bank to receive their salaries.

The Taliban pledged to wipe out the country’s drug cultivation industry and imposed a formal ban in April 2022, dealing a heavy blow to hundreds of thousands of farmers and day laborers who relied on proceeds from the crop to survive. Opium cultivation crashed by 95% after the ban, a report from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said last November.

Protests are rare in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, but there was a backlash in Badakhshan last week in response to the poppy eradication campaign.

It prompted a high-ranking delegation led by the chief of military staff Fasihudin Fitrat to visit the region and negotiate with protesters.

Protests erupted last Friday after a man was shot and killed by the Taliban for resisting poppy eradication attempts in Darayum district. Another was killed on Saturday during a protest in Argo district.

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