Haqqani leader reportedly dies after long illness

Ageing leader of Haqqani network dies after long illness, sources say, days after death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar confirmed

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The leader of the notorious Haqqani network, which has been blamed for many deadly attacks on local and international security forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, reportedly died a year ago.

According to Pakistani intelligence sources, Jalaluddin Haqqani died after a long illness and was buried in his home province of Khost.

Haqqani, a close associate of late Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, had been seriously ill for years and suffered brain haemorrhage, Taliban sources said.

However, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied Haqqani's death in a written statement, saying he has been ill for some time but is feeling much better.

His family also rejected the claims. "Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, no doubt, has become aged and suffering from different diseases but by the grace of Allah, he is safe and sound and alive," a relative told Reuters.

The death of Haqqani had been rumoured in recent months but could not be confirmed before.

The contradictory reports concerning the militant leader's alleged death came days after news of Taliban leader Mullah Omar's death. The Haqqani network has reportedly chosen Jalaluddin Haqqani's son Sirajuddin to be the new leader of the group, which is based in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area, AA reported.

He is also said to have been chosen as one of two deputy leaders of the Taliban's new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansour.

Jalaluddin Haqqani was a veteran commander who fought against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s with the Hizb-e-Islami Khalis group. He helped pushed back Soviet troops from the city of Jalalabad in 1989.

Haqqani later joined the Taliban and swore allegiance to Mullah Omar in 1996. He was the Taliban government's minister for border affairs until the US led invasion in 2001.

Jalaluddin Haqqani took refuge in Pakistan's North Waziristan region after the invasion and is believed to have close ties with the Pakistani intelligence service.

The powerful Haqqani network have been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan and has been frequently targeted by US airstrikes. Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of supporting the group, a claim Pakistan denies.

TRTWorld and agencies