Bomb Strikes Pakistan Mosque Frequented by Afghan Taliban Chief

KABUL, Afghanistan — A bomb exploded on Friday at a mosque in Pakistan frequented by the Taliban’s supreme leader, killing at least one of his brothers and several others, Afghan officials said.

The bombing near the city of Quetta came just as the United States and Taliban negotiators are nearing a deal that could end the war that began with an American invasion 18 years ago.

Exact news on the well-being of Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban chief, was not available, although officials suggested it was unlikely he was at the mosque during the explosion. Two senior Afghan officials said at least one, if not two, of Mawlawi Haibatullah’s brothers was killed. One of the officials said the Taliban chief’s son was among the wounded.

The BBC, citing local health officials, put the overall casualty at four dead and 11 wounded. The Taliban have not reacted to the news yet.

The former Taliban chief, Mullah Akhtar Muhammed Mansour, was killed by an American drone strike just as a previous attempt was being made to launch direct negotiations with the group. The timing of his killing still remains a mystery, as officials had described him as pragmatic and open to efforts of resolving the conflict through negotiations.

Source: NYT

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