KABUL, Sept 4, (Agencies): Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the militant Haqqani network, one of the most powerful and feared groups in the Afghan insurgency, has died after a long illness, the Taleban said on Tuesday. Haqqani, who founded the network in the 1970s, gave up operational leadership of the group some years ago to his son Sirajuddin, who is now deputy leader of the Afghan Taleban, with a $5-million US bounty on his head. “Haqqani had become quite old and was suffering from different health problems,” said one Taleban source close to the Haqqani family.
The Taleban issued a statement on Haqqani’s death but did not say where or when he died but said he had been ill and bed-ridden for several years. Defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the death was not expected to mean any major change for the Haqqani network, blamed by Afghan and US security officials for some of the most devastating suicide attacks of the past decade. “Operationally, his death will not have an impact on the group,” he said, adding that Haqqani’s role in recent years was ideological rather than practical.
Haqqani achieved prominence as a guerrilla leader in the US-backed campaign against Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan during the 1980s but later allied himself with the Taleban, fighting American troops after the Taleban were ousted in 2001. Haqqani is considered to have introduced suicide bombing to Afghanistan, where it was previously unknown, and his group became notorious for complex, well-organised attacks on both Afghan and US military, as well as civilian targets and high-profile kidnappings. Last year, a bomber believed to have been sent by the network blew himself up in the heart of the government and embassy district in the Afghan capital Kabul, killing about 150 people.
Attack kills American: NATO says an American has been killed in eastern Afghanistan while serving in the multinational mission the military alliance is leading. NATO said in a statement that a second US service member was in stable condition after being wounded during Monday’s attack. US Army Gen3 Scott Miller, who assumed command of NATO’s Resolute Support operation on Sunday, said the American who died had volunteered for duty in Afghanistan to protect his countr.