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Founder of Haqqani Network Dies in Afghanistan

Founder of Haqqani Network Dies in AfghanistanFounder of Haqqani Network Dies in Afghanistan

The founder of Afghanistan’s much-feared Haqqani network, a former US ally turned fierce enemy, has died after years of ill health, a Taliban spokesman said Tuesday. Jalaluddin Haqqani was 71. Haqqani died Monday inside Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahed told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. The elderly founder of the outlawed Afghanistan-based organization, once hailed as a freedom fighter by US President Ronald Reagan, had been paralyzed for the past 10 years. In announcing his death Tuesday, Mujahed called Haqqani a religious scholar and exemplary warrior. Because of his infirmity, Haqqani’s network has been led by his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is also deputy head of the Taliban. Considered the most formidable of the Taliban’s fighting forces, the Haqqani network has been linked to some of the more audacious attacks in Afghanistan. The elder Haqqani joined the Taliban when they overran Kabul in September 1996, expelling feuding mujahedeen groups, whose battles left the capital in ruins. Since then, the network has been among the fiercest foes fighting US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. The elder Haqqani’s death is not expected to impact the network’s military might or strategy.

 

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