An attack on a mosque in Kabul during Friday prayers killed the imam and three worshipers and wounded several others.
Mawlawi Azizullah Mofleh, the imam of Sher Shah Suri mosque in the Kart e Char area, was a well-known religious scholar.
This is the second attack on a religious scholar in the last 10 days. On June 2, Mawlawi Ayaz Niazi was killed in a similar attack at the Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan mosque in downtown Kabul. The local chapter of Islamic State claimed responsibility for that.
A suicide attack was carried out May 12 during a funeral in the Shewa district of Nangarhar province, killing at least 26 and wounding more than 100.
The Taliban had denied responsibility for the earlier attacks, and so far, no group has claimed responsibility for the Friday attack.
Meanwhile, security officials in Kandahar province said several people attacked a small intelligence base Thursday night on the outskirts of the city of Kandahar.
The base housed unit Zero 03 of the National Directorate for Security NDS special forces.
Jamal Barakzai, a spokesman for Kandahar police, told VOA that a number of attackers took position in nearby mountains. A security source told VOA that attackers fired heavy artillery on the NDS base.
The Zero 03 special forces base is located inside the house of the Taliban’s founding leader, Mullah Omer, in the Arghandab district.
The incidents of violence come at a time when the start of much-anticipated negotiations between the Taliban and other Afghans, including the Afghan government, seem to be near.
President Ashraf Ghani announced Thursday that his government, which had already released 3,000 Taliban prisoners, was planning to release more.
“My colleagues and I have made the decision to release an additional 2,000 prisoners within a very short period. We will announce the date soon,” the Afghan president said to an online forum hosted jointly by the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and the United States Institute of Peace.
The Taliban has said it is ready to start negotiations within a week of the release of 5,000 of their prisoners.
The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who negotiated a deal with the Taliban signed in February, hailed the development and urged both sides to grab the opportunity.
“All sides must work to get to the negotiations table ASAP and prevent spoilers from undermining the process & betraying the hopes and yearning of Afghan people for peace,” he tweeted.