Haqqani Network commander killed in Sept. 8 strike

A covert US airstrike in a Taliban controlled-tribal agency in Pakistan killed a military commander in the Haqqani Network.

The Sept. 8 airstrike in the the village of Dargamandi in the Tabi Saidgai area killed 12 people, including Maulvi Ismail Khan, a US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

Khan is said to be a mid-level military commander who operates in North Waziristan and also conducts attacks in Afghanistan, the official said.

The official would not comment if Khan was the target of the airstrike or if higher-level Haqqani Network, Taliban, or al Qaeda leaders were the focus of the operation.

Early reports of the airstrike indicated the compound that was hit was owned by Khan, however, a conflicting report in Dawn indicated the compound was owned by a Maulvi Taib Shah, who was described as a local tribesman.

The Haqqani Network is run by Jalaluddin and his son Siraj. The family controls large swaths of North Waziristan, and runs a parallel administration with courts, recruiting centers, tax offices, and security forces.

The Haqqanis are closely allied to the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, al Qaeda, and Pakistan’s military and intelligence service. Siraj Haqqani is a senior figure in the extensive web of al Qaeda and Taliban groups that operate along the Afghan and Pakistani border.

Siraj pulls the strings behind the major decisions in the Pakistani Taliban. He is often called in to mediate disputes with the various Taliban factions.

The US also carried out an airstrike in the Mir Ali region in North Waziristan on Sept. 7. Ilyas Kashmiri, the leader of the Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and a senior al Qaeda leader; and Mustafa al Jaziri, a member of al Qaeda’s military shura, are rumored to have been killed. The report has not been confirmed.

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