Tag Archives: Hakimullah Mehsud

Senior Haqqani Network Leader Killed in Pakistan

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Two days ago, on Monday November 11th, Nasiruddin Haqqani, a senior member of the leadership of the Haqqani network was assassinated in Islamabad. The exact circumstances of his death, perpetrators of the attack and the subsequent removal of his body back to Waziristan remain mysterious. The Haqqani network, while based in Pakistan, is one of the major factions (and most capable) of the Afghani Taliban fighting ISAF forces in Afghanistan. The killing comes at a sensitive time for Pakistan – the leader of the Pakistani Taliban (or TTP) Hakimullah Mehsud was killed earlier this month in a drone strike, and the nascent peace process in the country appears to be on hold for the foreseeable future.

Nasiruddin Haqqani was the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the group’s founder and a noted commander in the anti-Soviet fighting of the 1980s. His brother, Sirajuddin, is the day-to-day operational commander of the group. Nasiruddin’s primary responsibility appears to have been as the group’s financier, responsible for business ventures, outreach and fundraising abroad. This reportedly included numerous trips to the Middle East and the Gulf region in recent years.

Nasiruddin was returning home from a mosque through the district of Baru Kahu suburb of Islamabad when multiple gunmen on motorcycles shot him, also killing an innocent bystander. Local authorities originally denied that Nasiruddin had been killed, or was even present, as his body was spirited six hours away, and past numerous military checkpoints, to Waziristan.

Pakistan has long been accused of supporting the Haqqani network, something that would explain why such a senior leader could apparently live unmolested in Islamabad for several years. While the TTP aim to overthrow the Pakistani state, the Afghani Taliban retain close connections with the Pakistani security forces, who use them counter Indian influence in Afghanistan. The Haqqani network in particular has been labelled in the past as being veritable arms of the Pakistani military intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). The Haqqani Network is considered the most dangerous of the Afghani Taliban factions, and has been responsible for numerous high profile attacks in Kabul in recent years.

The killing comes at a particular problematic time for Pakistan’s security situation. Nasiruddin was reportedly involved in facilitating dialogue and potential peace talks between the TTP and the Pakistani government. These talks were apparently on the verge of beginning when the TTP leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a US drone strike. At first, it appeared that Khan Said Sajna, a powerful subordinate in favour of peace talks, would ascend to the leadership with reports even confirming he had been appointed. However, another leader, Mullah Fazlullah eventually emerged as the TTP’s new leader. Fazlullah reportedly rejects peace talks with the Pakistani state, and his appointment has likely crushed any serious chance of dialogue for the foreseeable future.

Security forces across Pakistan are on alert, with the possibility of revenge attacks in the country extremely high. Several Taliban fighters were killed in a shootout with police in Karachi today. The Ashura gatherings, an important part of the Shia Muslim religious calendar, begin on the 15th of November. With Shia Muslims a common target of terrorist attacks, this period is usually a tense time for Pakistan that sees thousands of troops deployed to ensure order, with the threat of violence even higher this year due to recent events.

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