New Delhi, Sep 4: The founder of the Haqqani network, considered as one of the most influencial terrorist group's in Afghnaistan-Pakistan region, Jalaluddin Haqqani is said to have died. Several US reports are claiming that he has indeed died. This assumes significance as even in 2015 it was reported that Jalaluddin had died, but later Taliban rubbished the reports.
Jalaluddin Haqqani rose to prominence with the American-backed mujahedeen rebels who fought the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan. He later allied himself with the Taliban when they took power in the 1990s.
CIA's involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War, fought between 1979 to February 1989, turned the course of history in the region. During that time, CIA covertly worked through Pakistani intelligence services to reach Afghan rebel groups (the mujahideen). Soviet troops occupied the cities and main arteries of communication, while the mujahideen waged guerrilla war in small groups operating in the almost 80 percent of the country that was outside government and Soviet control
Afghan insurgents began to receive massive amounts of aid and military training paid for primarily by the United States and Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf.
Amid all this Jalaluddin Haqqani rose as a prominent figure as he weilded significant influence in the region. He was a key US and Pakistani ally in resisting the Soviet-backed Afghanistan. Some news media outlets have even reported that Haqqani even received an invitation to, and perhaps even visited, President Ronald Reagan's White House.
The exact reason behind US' intervention in this entire matter is debatable. While some say it was intended primarily to improve U.S. relations with Pakistan, others say that it was to make the Soviets hurt. US wanted the Soviet-Afghan War to become "Soviets' own Vietnam".
After Soviet-Afghan war:
After the end of Soviet-Afghan war, Haqqani developed close ties with foreign militant financiers and leaders, including Osama bin Laden, the future head of al-Qaeda.
Following the capture of the Afghan capital, Kabul, by the mujahideen in 1992, Haqqani served as minister of justice in the interim cabinet formed by mujahideen leaders. In 1995 he allied with the Taliban movement, which captured the capital from the mujahideen the following year. He served as minister of tribal affairs under the Taliban government.
In October 2001, Haqqani was named the Taliban's military commander. He may have had a role in expediting the escape of Osama Bin Laden. Initially the Americans tried to woo him away from the Taliban. He refused their offers on the grounds that, as a Muslim, he was duty-bound to resist them, as "infidel invaders" just as he had the Soviets in earlier decades.
The Haqqani network:
In 2001 a U.S.-led invasion forced the Taliban from power. Leaders of the Haqqani network took shelter in the tribal regions of Pakistan and soon joined the reconstituted Taliban's insurgency against international forces and the government of Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai. Responsibility for directing the operations of the network was transferred from Haqqani, aging and reportedly ill, to his son Sirajuddin. The network has been blamed for a number of high-profile attacks, including bombings, assassinations, and commando-style raids on important sites in Kabul.
Haqqani is reported to run his own training camps, to recruit his own foreign fighters, and to seek out financial and logistic support on his own, from his old contacts. Estimates of the Haqqanis's numbers vary. A 2009 New York Times article indicates that they are thought to have about 4,000 to 12,000 Taliban under their command while a 2011 report from the Combating Terrorism Center places its strength roughly at 10,000-15,000.
During a September 2011 interview, Sirajuddin Haqqani said the figure of 10,000 fighters, as quoted in some media reports, "is actually less than the actual number." Throughout its history the network's operations have been conducted by small, semi-autonomous units organized according to tribal and sub-tribal affiliations often at the direction of and with the logistical support of Haqqani commanders.
Other details about Haqqani's death were not immediately known, but Haqqani had been known to suffer from ill health. Rumors about Haqqani's condition had been circulating for years and his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is now a top leader in the Haqqani Network.