Afghanistan confirms major Islamist militant leader killed
Afghanistan's intelligence agency said Sunday its operatives have confirmed that the son of the founder of the powerful Haqqani militant network, Badruddin Haqqani, was killed in an airstrike in Pakistan, even as the Taliban vowed that he was alive and well.
Shafiquallh Tahriri, the spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, said 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.
Tahiri's account is similar to one provided Saturday by a senior Taliban leader who said Haqqani was killed in a drone strike. It also hews closely to a version provided by Pakistani officials who said they were 90 percent sure the militant commander was killed Tuesday in a missile attack in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region.
Haqqani's death would mark a major 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, who are closely allied with the Haqqani network, have rejected all reports of Haqqani's death.
'He is alive and healthy'
Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said Haqqani is alive and in good health in Afghanistan.
"A number of media have reported that Badruddin Haqqani has been killed. We would like to inform all media that this rumour is not correct," Mujahid said in the email to reporters late Saturday. (...)