News Column

Taliban Leader Shot Dead in Islamabad

November 11, 2013

Alex Pena, Stars and Stripes

Nov. 11--The spokesman for the Afghan Taliban and a senior leader of the Haqqani network, was killed by unknown gunmen in Pakistan on Monday, local media outlets said.

Nasirudden Haqqani, son of the rebel network's chief Jalaluddin Haqqani, was reportedly shot on Monday by unidentified gunmen riding on a motorcycle while on his way back from a mosque near Islamabad, according to The Express Tribune, a local media outlet in Pakistan.

Haqqani, also known as Zabihullah Mujahid, was on a U.S. global list of wanted terrorists, and his organization was responsible for fighting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Haqqani network is closely aligned with the Taliban, and Haqqani was often quoted by media outlets speaking on behalf of the insurgency. The network was known to have operated within both Afghanistan, and the northern Waziristan tribal regions of Pakistan.

Haqqani, according to local media, reportedly preferred to live outside the tribal areas of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, and traveled often as a representative of the guerrillas. Haqqani reportedly visited oil-rich nations in the Middle East in attempts to gain support and funding for the Taliban. He was a key financier of the organization himself.

He was also involved in the opening of a Taliban office in Doha earlier this year, in a failed attempt to come to the negotiating table with the Afghan government.

Members of the Haqqani network have been targeted by the U.S. drone program. The drone strikes, which have been responsible for assassinations of the organization's leaders in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, are highly controversial, as civilians have also been killed in many of the attacks.

There has been no official word on who was responsible for his death.


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