Splinter group says it killed Swedish journalist in Kabul because he was a British spy

Faidai Mahaz’s logo

A little-known Islamist militant group claimed responsibility on Wednesday for gunning down a Swedish journalist in Kabul, but officials said the murder remained unexplained and that they were hunting for two suspects.

Nils Horner was shot at close range in an execution-style attack in an up-market district of the Afghan capital, a city that is regularly hit by Taliban suicide attacks.

Tuesday’s killing was claimed by Fidai Mahaz, a small splinter group linked to the Taliban-led insurgency that fights against the US-backed government in Kabul.

“Nils Horner was killed in this attack. He was not a journalist he was a (British) spy,” said a statement on the group’s website.

A spokesman for the mainstream Taliban militants denied any involvement in the killing, as well as any affiliation with Fidai Mahaz. Taliban sources in neighbouring Pakistan described the group as specialising in criminal activity, targeted killings and kidnapping.