Afghans Say US Strike Killed Haqqani Leader

 
on August 26 2012 12:26 PM

The son of the founder of the powerful Haqqani militant network was killed in an airstrike in Pakistan, Afghan intelligence said Sunday, even as the Taliban insisted that he was alive and well.

Shafiqullah Tahriri, spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, said Badruddin Haqqani was killed last week. He did not provide any further details, and would not say what information the agency's operatives were basing their conclusion on, the Associated Press reported.

Tahiri's account is similar to one given Saturday by a senior Taliban leader who said Haqqani was killed in a drone strike. It also closely parallels a version provided by Pakistani officials who said they were 90 percent sure the militant commander was killed Tuesday in a missile attack in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Haqqani's death would mark a serious blow to the organization founded by his father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, which is viewed by the U.S. as a powerful enemy in Afghanistan. The son is considered the network's day-to-day operations commander. The Haqqani network has been blamed for a series of high-profile attacks and kidnappings in Afghanistan, and the U.S. considers it one of the most powerful militant groups operating in the country.

The Taliban, close allies of the Haqqani network, have rejected all reports of Haqqani's death.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said Haqqani is alive and in good health in Afghanistan.

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