PESHAWAR: In what could be seen as growing presence of the militant Islamic State group in Pakistan, IS shot dead a senior Afghan Taliban official near Peshawar, the Afghan militants claimed on Saturday.

In the rare clash between the two Islamist outfits inside Pakistan, Afghan Taliban sources said, Maulvi Daud was killed with two other men on Thursday.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Daud’s death.

The IS on Friday claimed responsibility for the “assassination of a Taliban leader” a day earlier, without naming him, through the group’s affiliated news agency AMAQ.

Manzoor Ali adds: It may be recalled that during the past three weeks, Peshawar has witnessed at least four attacks on three Afghans and a Pakistani cleric. These assaults have left six people dead.

Capital city police acknowledge one of these attacks — the one on the Pakistani cleric — as the handiwork of IS.

On Thursday night, unidentified attackers opened fire on a vehicle carrying three Afghan clerics near Tauheed Abad locality within the jurisdiction of Chamkani police station.

Police identified the deceased as Moulvi Saifullah and Moulvi Khaksar. Their driver, Habibullah, suffered injuries.

While the police confirmed the deceased were Afghan nationals, they did not identify any of the deceased as Maulvi Daud.

A senior police official told Dawn that police were investigating the incident. “The motive for the attack is still not clear and we are investigating it.”

Earlier on April 20, unidentified attackers entered a mosque in the Qazi Kilay area and opened fire, killing Abdul Qayyum and Asad and injuring four others. Police said the attackers’ target was Mufti Nadeem, a local cleric, who sustained injuries in the firing.

A police source said the attack was carried out by IS militants because Mufti Nadeem was outspoken in his views against IS elements.

They said Mufti Nadeem had been receiving threats from some Afghan telephone numbers. He had informed the police about the threats and was allowed to carry guns for his safety.

During the same month, two other Afghan clerics were targeted in the Yakatoot and Urmur police limits.

Urmur attack left Moulvi Jalil dead on April 19, while on April 14, Maulana Mohammad Hamid alias Qari Bahar was gunned down in the remit of the Yakatoot police station.

In three cases where Afghan clerics were targeted, police have registered FIRs, while the attack on the Pakistani cleric is being considered as an incident of terrorism.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2017