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Rebel Afghan Taliban commander killed trying to flee to Iran

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A rebel Taliban commander from Afghanistan’s minority Shiite Hazara community was killed while attempting to flee to Iran, the defense ministry says, denying local reports suggesting he was murdered in captivity.

Mahdi Mujahid’s split with the Taliban leadership in June is the highest-profile public division seen in the hardline Islamist group since they returned to power in August last year.

He was appointed intelligence chief of Bamiyan province at the time, but months later was sacked following a dispute local media attributed to control of the lucrative coal trade.

Mujahid went on the run in June after the Taliban sent thousands of troops to crush his loyalists.

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