Taliban confirm death of Haqqani network founder
Haqqani network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani. – A file photo

PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban Tuesday announced that Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the Haqqani network, one of Afghanistan’s most effective and feared militant groups, has died after protracted illness.

The Taliban statement, which was shared on the social media, paid rich tribute to Jalaluddin, who served as a minister in the Taliban regime, and said he was from among the great distinguished personalities of this era.

During the 1980s, the Haqqani figurehead was an Afghan commander fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan with the help of the US and Pakistan. His outfit was known for its bravery, garnering attention from the CIA and a personal visit from US congressman Charlie Wilson. Haqqani also fostered close ties with Arab jihadists including Osama bin Laden who flocked to the region during the war. The Haqqani network has been blamed for many attacks across Afghanistan since the US invasion. The Haqqani network was declared a terrorist organisation by the United States in 2012.

Currently Jalaluddin Haqqani’s son Sirajuddin Haqqani heads the militant group and is also the Taliban’s deputy leader. The statement did not mention when or where Jalaluddin died. Earlier, rumours circulated several times about his death, however, his death has been confirmed first time by the Taliban. He was ill for the last several years and wasn’t heard of since relinquishing leadership of the group. According to the statement, Haqqani has been buried in Afghanistan.