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Prominent cleric who supported female education killed in Afghanistan bombing

A prominent Afghan cleric, Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani, was killed in Kabul by a suicide bomber who detonated explosives hidden in an artificial leg, Taliban sources said Thursday, as reported by BBC News and Reuters.

The religious leader supported the Taliban and was a prominent critic of the Islamic State's regional affiliate in Afghanistan. "It's a very huge loss for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," a senior Taliban official in the interior ministry said.

Sheikh Haqqani is one of the highest profile leaders to be killed in Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power as the United States military withdrew last year. He notably "had previously issued a fatwa, or religious decree, in support of female education — a contentious issue inside Afghanistan," the BBC reports, going on to quote Haqqani who, in an interview earlier this year, argued that "there is no justification in the sharia [law] to say female education is not allowed. No justification at all."

The Islamic State Kohrasan Province (IS-K) claimed responsibility for the bombing, which occurred in the cleric's office. IS-K had targeted Haqqani before.