Jalaluddin Haqqani died last year of ‘prolonged illness’

PESHAWAR: A day after Taliban announced that their supreme leader Mullah Omar had died two years ago, the outfit confirmed on Friday evening that the founder of the Haqqani Network, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, had died last year.

“Jalaluddin Haqqani died nearly one year ago and was buried in an Afghan province near the Pakistani border,” the a militant leader close to the network’s supremo said.

An Afghan source added that Jalaluddin was buried in his ancestral graveyard in Khost, Afghanistan. While details on how he died were not disclosed, the source said that he died after a prolonged illness.

Belonging to the Zadran tribe situated along the border with Pakistan in Khost, Jalaluddin was among the pioneers of the resistance against Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan. He was among a group of Afghan leaders who had shifted to Pakistan soon after the empowerment of Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan on July 16, 1975 in Afghanistan.

After shifting to Pakistan, he established a center for his network, along with a seminary called of Jamia Manbae Uloom in Danday Darpa Khel area of North Waziristan. The seminary became an internationally famous stopover for like minded hardliners and militants from all over the world, including the likes of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

After the end of the war with the Soviet Union and the collapse of Dr Najibullah’s government in April 1992, Jalaluddin took charge as minister for tribal affairs under the Professor Mujaddadi and Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani governments.

Among them, however, he was the first to switch over to Taliban when they captured Kabul on September 26, 1996.

Jalaluddin then became a member of Taliban Shura (consultation body) and was given a ministry in the setup.

When the Taliban government was ousted as America invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 tragedy, Jalaluddin established the cross-border group of Haqqani network, calling for a resistance against the US-led allied NATO troops and President Hamid Karzai’s government.

However, owing to his advanced age and onset of paralysis, he handed over reigns of the network to his son Sirajuddin in 2007.

In recent years, the once powerful chief of his network lost his three of his seven sons to US drone attacks, including Badaruddin, Mohammad and Ibrahim Haqqani.

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