Drone kills Haqqani commander linked to captive American soldier
07 September, 2013
PESHAWAR: US missiles on Friday killed a commander in the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network involved in the abduction of US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, Pakistanis said.
Mullah Sangeen Zadran, blacklisted as a terrorist by the United Nations and United States, was among six fighters killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan. The United States has blamed the Haqqani network, a faction of the Taliban waging a 12-year insurgency in Afghanistan, for a series of high-profile attacks in recent years. Two announcements made by mosque loudspeaker in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, said Zadran's funeral would take place at 3pm on Friday, witnesses said.
Two Pakistani intelligence officials, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, confirmed his death and said an Arab fighter was also among the dead. Pakistani officials said the US drone fired two missiles, destroying a compound overnight in Dargah Mandi, a Haqqani stronghold about 10 kilometres from Miranshah. In August 2011, the US State Department said Zadran was believed to have orchestrated the kidnappings of Afghans and foreigners in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Earlier that year, he was identified by the SITE monitoring group as the militant who blindfolded and led away US soldier Bowe Bergdahl on a video filmed of his captivity.
Bergdahl disappeared on June 30, 2009 from his base in Paktika. He is the only known American soldier held by Afghan insurgents. A source close to the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan told AFP on condition of anonymity on Friday that Zadran had been involved in the abduction of the soldier.
Efforts to negotiate an exchange between Bergdahl and five Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay collapsed last year.