A police chief with deep experience of Afghanistan’s long conflict with the Taliban was killed in a blast on Sunday in eastern Nangarhar Province, which has been under threat from the Taliban and affiliates of the Islamic State group.
General Zarawar Zahid was visiting an outpost in Hisarak District when explosives detonated, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar Province.
One of the general’s bodyguards was wounded, Khogyani said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing, a statement by spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said.
The attack came a week after twin bombings outside the Afghan Ministry of Defense killed at least 40 people, including several senior security officials.
Nangarhar, a province along the border with Pakistan, has faced mounting security problems over the past couple of years, with new Islamic State affiliates complicating the threat from the Taliban.
Zabihullah Zmarai, a member of the provincial council, said the Islamic State group posed a danger in five districts, despite repeated operations by the Afghan army.
“Out of the 22 districts, only six are secure,” Zmarai said.
The extent of Taliban presence across nearly a dozen districts varies, Zmarai said, but Hisarak District faced a collapse. That drew the attention of Zahid, who had gone there to supervise a counterattack.
Over the past decade, Zahid rose from a bodyguard to a well-regarded police chief of several volatile provinces. His postings included two stints as the police chief of southeastern Ghazni Province, and one term each in Zabul and Paktika provinces.
Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs spokesman Sediq Sediqqi called Zahid “one of the bravest commanders of the Afghan police.”
“He lost his life on the front line of duty in the fight against terrorism,” Sediqqi said.
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