Taleban claims leader's son conducted suicide bombing

KABUL • In a daring attack, Taleban fighters in Afghanistan's Helmand province packed explosives into three stolen Humvees originally supplied to Afghan forces by the United States and drove them into Afghan security outposts.

After the Humvees exploded, other suicide attackers followed in the attack last Thursday. Last Saturday, the Taleban released an astonishing bit of information: One of the suicide bombers was the son of their supreme leader, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada.

Although at least three Taleban officials confirmed the son's death, the Taleban are known for making claims that frequently turn out to be baseless, and this one could not immediately be verified.

But researchers and Taleban watchers have documented that Mawlawi Haibatullah's son had signed up for a suicide mission, and reports of his role in last Thursday's attack were spreading.

A member of the Taleban leadership council identified Mawlawi Haibatullah's son as Hafiz Abdur Rahman Khalid, 23.

If the claim proves to be true, the willingness of a top leader's son to sacrifice his life for the cause would be a propaganda victory for insurgents fighting against an Afghan government that is struggling to keep the families of most of its own senior leaders inside the country.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2017, with the headline 'Taleban claims leader's son conducted suicide bombing'. Print Edition | Subscribe