Haqqani chief is also dead

Islamabad : Jalaluddin Haqqani, head of the dreaded Haqqani network, which was behind some of the deadliest attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, has been dead for over a year, militant sources said on Friday, two days after the death of Taliban chief Mullah Omar was confirmed.

Jalaluddin — father of Sirajuddin Haqqani who was recently made deputy of Taliban’s new chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor — died a year ago due to prolonged illness and was buried in the Afghan province of Khost, Taliban sources said.

Jalaluddin, who was in his 70s, rose to fame among the jihadi circles after his feats against the Soviet invaders in 1980s. It was not immediately clear where exactly he died.

According to US and Afghan intelligence reports, the Haqqani network was based in Pakistan’s trib- al North Waziristan till June last year when a military operation was launched in the area. Both Jalaluddin and his son Sirajuddin carry a US bounty of $ 10 million each on their heads.

The Haqqani network, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has also been blamed for several deadly attacks against Western and Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul. Jalaluddin’s three sons were killed in US drone attacks and another was killed by unknown gunmen in Islamabad in 2013, according to militant sources.

Though the Haqqani network was allied with Taliban and followed Mullah Omar, it carried out its operations independently. The Haqqanis are not only considered close to Pakistan but also to Saudi Arabia.

The confirmation of the death of Omar and new reports of Jalauddin’s demise will have an impact on the Pakistan-hosted peace efforts between militants and the Afghan government.

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