An Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist network leader, Nasiruddin Haqqani, was shot dead in Pakistan on Sunday. Unidentified gunmen attacked the senior commander on the street in the evening, killing him in a residential neighborhood of Islamabad.
Haqqani’s death was confirmed by Pakistani Taliban leadership and an intelligence official, reports New York Post. Bystanders recall the shooting in the Bharu Kahu area. Allegedly, Haqqani was buying bread from a street shop when at least four gunmen on motorbikes drove up and shot him dead. After the incident, his body was gathered and taken to North Waziristan for burial. North Waziristan is well-known as a stronghold for militant operations in Pakistan.
Nasiruddin Haqqani was a major figure in the Al Qaeda-allied Haqqani terror network. He was also the son of the group’s founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani. The group is also known to cooperate with the Pakistani Taliban. Nasiruddin worked as a key financier and relations manager under his brother, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the current leader of the Haqqani network. New York Post reports that Nasiruddin Haqqani is known by the US Treasury to have spent time traveling to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to raise funds for his terrorist network.
The Haqqani network rose in the wake of the US invasion of Afghanistan after the 9/11 terror attacks. The group’s founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, was a US-funded Afghan military leader who fought Soviet forces in the 1980s, according to Global Post. An experienced guerrilla fighter who had allied with the Taliban in 1996, Haqqani fled to Pakistan and began building training bases to recruit militant after US troops landed in 2001.
In the years since, the group has affiliated itself with Al Qaeda and the exiled Taliban in Pakistan. US intelligence credits the Haqqani network with many major attacks in Afghanistan. This includes the siege of the US embassy in 2011 and an assault on CIA forces in 2009. The Al Qaeda-linked group is believed to be the most powerful militant group among the Afghan Taliban factions.
The United States has demanded Pakistan forces launch military operations to take out the Haqqani network, which is based in North Waziristan. They have declined, claiming that their military is too busy dealing with more immediate militant threats. Some analysts have speculated that Pakistan’s reluctance to go against the Al Qaeda-linked network is an attempt to lock down power alliances between the government and potentially dangerous guerrilla factions. This has led the US to conduct drone strikes on against the group, resulting in diplomatic tensions between Washington and Islamabad.
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