A senior Afghan Taliban official has been killed in the city of Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan, Afghan militants confirmed Saturday.
Senior Taliban officials told NBC News that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack which took place on Thursday, constituting a rare clash between the rival Islamist groups and the first time ISIS has targeted the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan.
Maulvi Mohammad Daud — who Taliban officials described as a member of the organization’s leaders' council in Peshawar — was reportedly travelling in a car in the city's suburbs when he was gunned down by attackers. His two bodyguards were also killed, officials said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Daud’s killing but said he did not know who was behind the attack.
The unnamed senior officials said Daud had no personal enmity with ISIS, adding that they thought Afghan intelligence services were responsible for the attack. “We know the Afghan intelligence agency is behind the murder of Maulvi Daud and his men and they used Daesh [ISIS] for this act,” one senior Taliban member told NBC News.
ISIS, which at one point controlled large swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq, has made some inroads into Afghanistan but the group has met tough resistance from the Taliban, as well as U.S. and Afghan special forces.
This week, two American service members were killed during an anti-ISIS operation in the Momand Valley in eastern Afghanistan. The Pentagon said Friday that the two army rangers may have fallen victim to friendly fire.
In the same location earlier this month, U.S. forces dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in a strike against ISIS. The GBU-43 bomb, nicknamed the "mother of all bombs," reportedly killed 36 militants, according to Afghanistan’s defense ministry.
ISIS does not control any territory inside Pakistan but has claimed responsibility for several large-scale bombings. Pakistani officials have previously said the militants do not have a presence inside the country.