Pro-government religious leader killed in Afghanistan

Several prominent figures lose their lives to ongoing spate of targeted killings this year

Anadolu Agency May 23, 2021
An Afghan policeman stands guard after an attack at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. PHOTO: REUTERS


A prominent pro-government religious leader was assassinated in Afghanistan amid the ongoing targeted killing spree in the war-ravaged country, officials confirmed on Sunday.

The latest victim of the unclaimed slayings was identified as Mawlawi Sayed Saifullah Safi, head of the Syed Khail District Religious Council in the central Parwan province north of the capital Kabul.

District Governor Ahmad Umer told Anadolu Agency that Mawlawi Safi was shot dead by unknown assassins in front of a public school in the morning.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing in the area marred by the Taliban insurgency.

A number of prominent figures lost their lives this year to the ongoing spate of violence, including Mawlawi Ayaz Niazi, the widely respected prayer leader of the Wazir Mohammed Akbar Khan Mosque in Kabul's highly guarded diplomatic zone.

Other victims include Mawlawi Azizullah Mofteh, a religious leader; Mohammad Atif, head of central council of Jamiat-e-Eslah (Society for Reforms); Fereshteh Kohestani, a women's rights activist; Yusuf Rashid, executive director of the Afghanistan Free and Fair Election Foundation; Rahmatullah Nikzad, president of the Ghazni Journalists' Union; Malala Maiwand, female news correspondent in Nangarhar; Elyaas Dayee, a correspondent of Azadi Radio, and Yama Siavash, a former Tolo TV presenter.

This comes as deadly violence returned to Afghanistan after a three-day truce for the Muslim holy festival of Eid last week.

Since the announcement of an exit date of September 2021 for American troops by US President Joe Biden, Afghanistan has been witnessing a spike in deadly Taliban assaults across the country that has led to mounting casualties on all sides.