Founder of militant Haqqani network dies in Afghanistan, Taliban says

The Haqqani network founder in Pakistan in 2001

The Haqqani network founder in Pakistan in 2001

Rumors have circulated for years regarding the death of Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the militant Haqqani network, who had close ties to the Taliban and al-Qaida. It also carried out several attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan. Haqqani was hailed by the late US congressman Charlie Wilson as "goodness personified".

Haqqani founded the network in the 1970s but relinquished operational leadership of the group some years ago to his son Sirajuddin Haqqani.

During the 1980s Jalaluddin Haqqani was an Afghan Mujahideen commander fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan with the help of the USA and Pakistan.

Among many spectacular assaults, they were accused of killing around 150 people in the heart of Kabul with a truck bomb in May 2017 - though Sirajuddin later denied the accusation in a rare audio message.

The elderly founder of Afghanistan's outlawed Haqqani network had been paralyzed for the past 10 years.

Jalaluddin Haqqani, one-time Central Intelligence Agency asset whose group became a top U.S. target, spent decades working with groups such as al-Qaeda and the Taliban to entrench jihadism in the conflict-racked region.

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Haqqani was among the Afghan mujahedeen, or holy warriors, that the United States backed to fight the former Soviet Union's invading army that entered Afghanistan in 1979 to prop up a pro-Moscow communist government.

Rumours about Haqqani's death have circulated for years. He set up his own front in the region and called it the Haqqani Network, even while still considering himself a member of the Taliban. The Taliban say Haqqani, an ex-U.S. ally turned enemy, died Monday.

The US official have always been pushing Pakistan to act against the Haqqani Network, considering them to be among the closest proxies of Pakistan's military and spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The Islamic State, meanwhile, has also adopted the tactic in Afghanistan.

After the Russians left and Afghanistan's communist government fell, Haqqani served briefly as justice minister.

Haqqani's prowess during the jihad against the U.S.S.R.'s occupation of Afghanistan earned him praise from Washington.

In August 1998, USA cruise missiles targeted Haqqani's base in a failed attempt to kill bin Laden. That cable also said Haqqani "is close buddies with many Arab and Pakistani Islamists". After the militant group's fall in 2001, he moved to the tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

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