A major Haqqani group commander, Maulana Ahmad Jan, and five others died in a US-led drone strike on Thursday. The attack targeted a religious seminary in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Hangu district. At least five others were injured in the strike.
The Haqqani network is known for its connections to both the exiled Taliban in Pakistan and al Qaeda terrorists. This is the second major member of the Haqqani network killed in recent weeks. The group’s top financial operative, Nasiruddin Haqqani, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on the outskirts of Islamabad, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.
Maulana Ahmad Jan, an important Haqqani network commander, was also known as a spiritual leader among militant radicals. His death was confirmed by the Haqqani terrorist group in a public statement which also acknowledged that at least two others killed by the drone strike were militants, reports Yahoo! News.
Some of those present at the seminary at the time of the attack were not locals. They were said to have traveled to meet with Maulana Ahmad Jan to “condole the death of Nasiruddin Haqqani because followers were not able to meet with any other member of the Haqqani family.”
The Taliban and al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network are known for their role in some of the worst terror attacks in Afghanistan in the past decade. They are also believed to be one of the most powerful militant factions among the Afghan Taliban.
Thursday’s drone strike is especially notable as it was the first US attack outside the so-called tribal areas of Pakistan, and the first in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The Express Tribune reports that just a day before the attack, a top Pakistani official announced that the US agreed to temporarily call off their drone missions if the Taliban joined the peace talks.
As with every US drone strike in the country, Pakistani government officials were quick to denounce the attack killing the Haqqani commander. The government has demanded an end to the US drone campaign within the country, arguing that the controversial attacks are counterproductive and work against the peace process.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]