A prominent Afghan cleric supportive of the Taliban has been killed in a blast in Kabul, according to local reports.
Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani reportedly died in a suicide attack at an Islamic seminary in the Afghan capital.
He was a supporter of female education and had previously survived two assassination attempts in Pakistan.
It is not currently clear who is responsible for his killing, but he had previously been targeted by the Islamic State (IS) group.
According to several Taliban sources speaking to Reuters news agency, the attack took place after a man who had previously lost a leg detonated explosives hidden in an artificial plastic limb.
Sheikh Haqqani was a supporter of Afghanistan’s Taliban government and a prominent critic of the jihadist militant group Islamic State Kohrasan Province (IS-K), a regional affiliate of IS that operates in Afghanistan and opposes the Taliban’s rule.
The religious leader had previously issued a fatwa, or religious decree, in support of female education – a contentious issue inside Afghanistan.
In an interview with the BBC last month, he argued that Afghan women and girls should be able to access education: “There is no justification in the sharia [law] to say female education is not allowed. No justification at all.”
He added: “All the religious books have stated female education is permissible and obligatory, because, for example, if a woman gets sick, in an Islamic environment like Afghanistan or Pakistan, and needs treatment, it’s much better if she’s treated by a female doctor.”
In all but a handful of provinces in the country, girls’ secondary schools have been ordered to remain closed by the Taliban.