Afghan Taliban announces death of Jalaluddin Haqqani
Islamabad, Sep 4 : Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose death was announced by the Afghan Taliban on Tuesday, was the founder of the dreaded Haqqani Network which is believed to be behind a campaign of violence throughout Afghanistan including the 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul that killed 58 people.
The Afghan Taliban did not share the exact date of death or burial of the militant commander, who had transferred the operational leadership of the group to his son Sirajuddin Haqqani after the 9/11 attack.
“…Well known Mujahid, famous Islamic scholar, renowned fighter, leader of Muhajideen, minister of frontiers in (Taliban) Islamic Emirates and member of Leadership (Taliban) Council, al-Hajj Mullah Jalaluddin Haqqani has died after long illness,” the Afghan Taliban said in statement.
He was believed to be in eighties and several times in the past the news of his death was circulated but it was not confirmed by the militant group.
Jalaluddin studied at the Darul Uloom Haqqania Nowshera in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province – an Islamic seminary dubbed as the ‘University of Jihad’ as its alumni include slain Taliban chiefs Mullah Omar and Mullah Akhtar Mansoor and Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent leader Asim Umar.
He belonged to Afghanistan’s Paktika province, bordering Pakistan, and rose to prominence during the Afghan war against Soviet forces in 1980s. He was appointed as minister in the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan in 1990s.
Jalaluddin, who maintained his independent position during the Taliban regime, enjoyed close ties with Pakistan’s spy agency – Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
He also helped Osama bin Laden to set up terror training camps in Afghanistan and launch his efforts for global jihad and maintained close links with al-Qaeda and other Arab militants.
After the 9/11 attack and toppling of the Taliban government by the US-led forces, Jalaluddin apparently fled to the lawless tribal region of Pakistan and re-organised his fighters.
His group became most lethal and carried out several deadly attacks against US, NATO and Afghan forces.
The Haqqani network, believed to be behind a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in Afghanistan, was accused of bombing the Indian mission in Kabul in 2008 that killed 58 people. The attack was believed to be among the deadliest in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
The attack was believed to be carried out at the behest of the ISI.
The group is accused of targeting the Indian consulate in Jalalabad twice in 2007 and carrying out an attack on the Indian mission in Kabul in 2009 that killed 17 people. It also carried out several attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan.
In 2012, the US designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist organisation. Three years later, Pakistan also banned the Haqqani network as part of its National Action Plan.
The group is the bone of contention between Pakistan and the US as the latter accuse that Haqqani militants were still using Pakistani soil to launch attacks – a charge denied by Pakistan.