Taliban deny Haqqani’s dead


The Taliban on Wednesday denied reports of the death of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the Haqqani network which is regularly blamed for major attacks in Afghanistan. “We strongly dismiss the reports that Jalaluddin Haqqani is dead. He’s alive,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP, attributing the reports to “government propaganda”. The Haqqanis, who are closely affiliated with the Taliban, are key players in the insurgency against US-led NATO troops. Tolo, Afghanistan’s first 24-hour rolling news television channel, said Jalaluddin had died of kidney disease, claiming on its Twitter feed that the Taliban had confirmed it.
The United States blamed last month’s 18-hour assault on Kabul, the biggest to hit the capital in a decade, on the Haqqani network, saying the group’s leaders planned the attack from North Waziristan. Before stepping down as chief US military officer last year, Admiral Mike Mullen caused a sensation when he told Congress that the Haqqani network was a “veritable arm” of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.