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Jalaludin Haqqani, founder of Afghan militant network, is dead: Taliban

Jalaludin Haqqani, founder of Afghan militant network, is dead: Taliban

".Well known Mujahid, famous Islamic scholar, renowned fighter, leader of Muhajideen, minister of frontiers in (Taliban) Islamic Emirates and member of Leadership (Taliban) Council, al-Hajj Mullah Jalaluddin Haqqani has died after long illness", the Afghan Taliban said in statement.

CNNquoted an Afghan official who said his government has information suggesting Haqqani actually died over ten years ago, but his death was concealed by his operatives and the Taliban until now.

"Haqqani had become old and was suffering from different health problems", said a Taliban source close to the family.

Rumoured to have died in 2015, the Taliban has now confirmed his death after "a long struggle with a disease", hailing him as an "exemplary warrior. among the great distinguished Jihadi personalities of this era".

The United States designated the Haqqani network a terrorist organization in 2012. Those who remain in Afghanistan, including the new head of al-Qaida, Ayman al Zawahri, are believed to be protected by the Haqqani network, and they are believed to help fund it.

Jalaluddin Haqqani joined the Taliban when they took control of the capital Kabul in September 1996, expelling rival mujahideen groups. The AP reports he had Parkinson disease and had been paralyzed for the past 10 years. After the militant group's fall in 2001, he moved to the tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

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Over the following decades, the media-friendly Jalaluddin used his Arabic language skills to foster close ties with Arab jihadists, including Osama bin Laden, who flocked to the region during the war.

The network has been blamed by Afghan and US security officials for some of the most devastating suicide attacks of the past decade - and in fact it was the group who introduced suicide bombing to Afghanistan.

Defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the death was not expected to mean any major change for the Haqqani network, blamed by Afghan and US security officials for some of the most devastating suicide attacks of the past decade.

Zahid Hussain, an Islamabad-based security analyst, said that his death won't change the Haqqani Network's policies.

The group, which it is alleged largely operates from Pakistan, has also been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan, including a truck bomb explosion in Kabul in 2017 that killed more than 150 people. Washington's own watchdog in a recent report said almost half of Afghanistan is either under the control of the Taliban or influenced by the religious militia. Jalaluddin Haqqani rose to prominence with the American-backed mujahedeen rebels who fought the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan.

The Haqqani Network gave assurances it has several well-trained leaders and its operations will not be compromised by the death of its founder.