Gunmen gun down 'chief financier' of Haqqani network in Islamabad
12 November, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The chief fundraiser of the Haqqani militant network – one of the most feared groups fighting US-led forces in Afghanistan – has been shot dead in the Pakistani capital, the Taliban said Monday.
Unidentified gunmen attacked Nasiruddin Haqqani, a son of the group's founder, on the edge of Islamabad on Sunday evening, the militants told AFP. The Haqqanis have been blamed for spectacular attacks on Afghan government and NATO targets across Afghanistan as well as for kidnappings and murders.
Eyewitnesses described attackers on motorbikes spraying Haqqani with automatic gunfire as he bought bread from a shop in Bhara Kahu on the northeastern edge of the city. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing, which comes just over a week after a US drone strike assassinated Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud in North Waziristan Agency.
Washington holds the Haqqanis responsible for some of the most high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including a 2011 siege of the US embassy and, in 2009, the deadliest attack on the CIA in 25 years. "I can confirm that Nasiruddin Haqqani, 36, was shot dead in Islamabad's Bhara Kahu area on Sunday night. At least four gunmen opened fire on him," a senior Afghan Taliban source from the Haqqani network told AFP.
Haqqani's body has been taken to Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, for burial, the source said. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban confirmed the death and vowed to take revenge, accusing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of killing him. "Nasiruddin Haqqani has been martyred by ISI," Shahidullah Shahid, the main spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), told AFP.
"He was killed because he bravely supported Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud." Afghanistan's NDS spy agency also confirmed Haqqani's death but blamed it on an "internal conflict". It did not give further details.
The United States put the Haqqani network on its terror blacklist in September 2012 and the Pentagon said the group represented a "significant threat" to national security. The UN followed up with global sanctions on the network two months later, saying in its designation that the group was linked to al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and a string of militant groups in Pakistan including the TTP.
The Haqqanis have been a source of friction in US-Pakistan relations. The outgoing top US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, in 2011 called the group a "veritable arm" of the ISI.