Taliban authorities in Afghanistan said Tuesday that a car bomb blast had killed at least two people, including the deputy governor of the northeastern Badakhshan border province.
A local official spokesman told VOA by phone that Molvi Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi was being driven to work in the provincial capital of Faizabad when a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into his vehicle.
Moazuddin Ahmadi said the powerful blast had wounded at least six civilians.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the high-profile attack in the mountainous Afghan province abutting China, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.
A car bombing in December killed the Taliban police chief of Badakhshan in an attack claimed by the Islamic State terror group's Afghan branch, known as Islamic State-Khorasan, or IS-K.
Several top Taliban leaders have been killed in IS-K-claimed attacks since the hardline group retook control of Afghanistan nearly two years ago.
Mohammad Dawood Muzammil, the governor of the northern Balkh province, was killed in a suicide bombing in March. IS-K took credit for assassinating one of the most senior Taliban leaders.
Muzamil had served as the governor of the eastern Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, and oversaw operations against IS-K there before moving to Balkh last year.
The Taliban are sworn enemies of IS-K and have routinely raided its bases around the country, killing high-profile operatives of the terror group in recent months. Mualawi Muhammad, also known as Mualawi Ziauddin, was among them. He was killed in March, along with two key commanders, and was known to be the second highest-ranked IS-K member in Afghanistan.
Islamic State launched its attacks in the conflict-torn country in 2015 from bases in Nangarhar. It has since expanded the violence to other Afghan provinces.
Taliban authorities insist their counterterrorism forces have significantly diminished IS-K's abilities and don't see the group as a security challenge for their government.
A top U.S. military commander told a congressional hearing in March that IS-K could launch an attack from Afghan bases before the year is out.
"They can do external operations against U.S. or Western interests abroad in under six months with little to no warning," said Army General Michael Kurilla, head of the U.S. Central Command overseeing U.S. troops in the region.