Founder of militant Afghan Haqqani network dies

Founder of militant Afghan Haqqani network dies

Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the militant Haqqani network, one of the most powerful and feared groups in the Afghan insurgency, has died after a long illness, the Taliban said on Tuesday.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the militant Haqqani network, one of the most powerful and feared groups in the Afghan insurgency, has died after a long illness, the Taliban said on Tuesday.

Haqqani, who founded the network in the 1970s, gave up operational leadership of the group some years ago to his son Sirajuddin, who is now deputy leader of the Afghan Taliban, with a $5-million U.S. bounty on his head.

“Haqqani had become quite old and was suffering from different health problems,” said one Taliban source close to the Haqqani family.

The Taliban issued a statement on Haqqani’s death but did not say where or when he died but said he had been ill and bed-ridden for several years.

Defense ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the death was not expected to mean any major change for the Haqqani network, blamed by Afghan officials for some of the most devastating suicide attacks of the past decade.

“Operationally, his death will not have an impact on the group,” he said, adding that Haqqani’s role in recent years was ideological rather than practical.

Haqqani is considered to have introduced suicide bombing to Afghanistan, where it was previously unknown, and his group became notorious for complex, well-organized attacks on both Afghan military, as well as civilian targets and high-profile kidnappings.

Last year, a bomber believed to have been sent by the network blew himself up in the heart of the government and embassy district in the Afghan capital Kabul, killing about 150 people.

Jalaluddin Haqqani’s death has been reported a number of times over recent years and the reports have never been disproved.

A security official in Kabul, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be quoted by name, said Afghan intelligence services believed that Haqqani had in fact died some three years ago.

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