Senior Haqqani leader shot dead; buried in Miramshah

Published November 11, 2013
A photographer takes pictures of the suspected spot where Nasiruddin Haqqani was assassinated in the Bhara Kahu area on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013.—AP Photo
A photographer takes pictures of the suspected spot where Nasiruddin Haqqani was assassinated in the Bhara Kahu area on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013.—AP Photo
Photo of Nasiruddin Haqqani. — Courtesy: Long War Journal (http://www.longwarjournal.org)
Photo of Nasiruddin Haqqani. — Courtesy: Long War Journal (http://www.longwarjournal.org)

PESHAWAR: Nasiruddin Haqqani, a senior militant leader and brother of Haqqani network chief Sirajuddin Haqqani, has been shot dead, militant sources and intelligence officials said Monday.

However, the exact location of the killing remained unclear.

Intelligence officials said the senior Haqqani network leader was shot dead near Bara Kahu on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan’s federal capital.

However, there has so far been no official confirmation from the police or the Pakistani government of the reported incident in the federal capital.

Meanwhile, some intelligence officials claimed Nasiruddin was killed in a clash in an Afghan area close to Pakistan.

The officials said Nasiruddin’s body was brought on Monday for burial in Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal agency.

A senior Afghan Taliban commander confirmed Nasiruddin’s death. “His funeral was held today at 330 pm at the Haqqania madrassah (seminary) in Miramshah,” he said.

The Taliban commander, however, declined to verify the exact location of where the senior Haqqani network leader was killed. He said several top militant commanders attended the funeral.

A retired military official, who preferred not to come on record, said the targeted killing of Mr Haqqani would prove to be another Osama bin Laden-like episode and definitely questions would be raised about the presence of such a high-profile Taliban leader with his family right in the capital.

Osama bin Laden was killed by Americans in Abbottabad, close to the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) in May 2011 after he had been living there for several years.

Sources in police and various agencies confirmed that the slain Haqqani had been living in the area for the past three to four years.

The Afghan Haqqani network was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani and the US says it is one of the most feared militant groups fighting their troops in Afghanistan.

The US has always been suspicious of ties between the Haqqani network and the Pakistani security establishment. In September 2011, the then head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, famously called the Haqqani network a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), in a testimony before the US Senate. Pakistan strongly reacted to the statement and termed it mere accusation.

An effective presence of Haqqanis on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border, however, was an open secret, the retired military official said, adding that if there were any chances left of resuming peace talks with the TTP, they had gone after the killing of Nasiruddin. “No final peace deal between the TTP and Pakistan can be done without approval of the Haqqani network,” he added.

During the past two years, four senior members of the Haqqani network have been killed. Badaruddin Haqqani, brother of Nasiruddin, was killed in August 2012, Jan Baz Zadran was killed in October 2011 and Mullah Sanggen Zadran in September this year.

Nasiruddin, 36, is described as a key financier and “emissary” for the Haqqani network militant organisation, which has been fighting US troops in Afghanistan since 2001. The eldest of Jalaluddin Haqqani’s several sons, he was designated by the United States as a terrorist in July 2010.

The Haqqani network is a key ally of the Afghan Taliban and has pledged allegiance to its leader, Mullah Omar, though it operates fairly independently.

Washington holds the Haqqanis responsible for some of the most high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including a 2011 siege of the US embassy and, in 2009, the deadliest attack on the CIA in 25 years.

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