Founder of Haqqani network dead, say Taliban

haqqani-taliban-afp Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the militant group the Haqqani network, speaks during an interview | AP

The Taliban has confirmed that Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the Haqqani network, is dead. The confirmation was announced by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced.

Haqqani died after several years of illness, Mujahid said. He was a significant militant figure in Afghanistan and had close ties to both the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The network is said to be behind many of co-ordinated attacks on Afghan and NATO forces in recent years, a report by BBC said. Haqqani has fought the Soviet troops that occupied Afghanistan in 1980s. US officials, at the time, considered him a prized asset of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He later on allied himself with the Taliban.

Haqqani is the father of Taliban deputy emir and military commander Sirajuddin Haqqani, who has taken over control of the group since 2001.

"Just as he endured great hardships for the religion of Allah during his youth and health, he also endured long illness during his later years," a statement from the Afghan Taliban said.

There have been numerous rumours of his death previously but none of it was ever confirmed.