Haqqani Network Founder Jalaluddin Haqqani Dies From Illness, Says Taliban

| September 4 , 2018 , 11:46 IST

The Taliban militant group on Tuesday announced that Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of one Afghanistan's most feared militant groups the Haqqani Network, died on Monday at the age of 79 years after a long illness.

The statement from the Afghan Taliban announcing Jalaluddin's death said, "Just as he endured great hardships for the religion of Allah during his youth and health, he also endured long illness during his later years."

Jalaluddin "was from among the great distinguished Jihadi personalities of this era" the statement said.

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Initially a commander of the Taliban, during the 1980s Jalaluddin formed a separate Haqqani Network with the help of the US and Pakistan to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He also had close ties with Arab jihadists including the infamous Osama Bin Laden, who is considered to be the mastermind of the 9/11 US terror attacks.

In 1995, the Haqqani Network pledged allegiance to the Taliban and helped it capture Kabul in 1996. Jalaluddin was appointed Minister of Tribal Affairs and held the post till 2001 when the US invasion of Afghanistan ousted the Taliban. The US later declared the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organisation in 2012.

Jalaluddin voluntarily gave up the operational leadership of the Haqqani Network to his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is now deputy leader of the Afghan Taliban.

Haqqani network, which is linked to al-Qaeda has also been blamed for several deadly attacks against Western and Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul. Though the Haqqani network was allied with Taliban and followed Omar, it carried out its operations independently.

Pakistani media had reported the death of Jalaluddin Haqqani in 2015 but the Taliban had refuted the reports and issued a statement which said, "This claim has no basis. Haqqani was ill before but he has been blessed with good health for a prolonged period now and has no troubles currently.”