Nasiruddin Haqqani, a senior leader and financier in the al Qaeda-linked Taliban subgroup known as the Haqqani Network, is reported to have been killed during a clash in Pakistan last night.
Numerous Pakistani news outlets have reported that Nasiruddin was killed in a shooting on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. Gunmen on motorcycles killed Nasiruddin as he and two others were driving in a car outside Islamabad, The News reported. Some Pakistani intelligence officials are claiming, however, that he was killed “in a clash in an Afghan area close to Pakistan,” Dawn reported.
Nasiruddin’s body is said to have been taken to Miramshah, the seat of power of the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan, and prayers are being held at the Haqqani Network’s mosque.
The Afghan Taliban has officially confirmed the reports of Nasiruddin’s death on Nov. 12.
The senior spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, which is allied with the Haqqani Network, said Nasiruddin was killed and blamed the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Pakistan’s military intelligence service.
“Nasiruddin Haqqani has been martyred by ISI,” Shahidullah Shahid, told AFP. “He was killed because he bravely supported Taliban chief Hakeemullah Mehsud.”
Hakeemullah was killed in a US drone strike in Miramshah on Nov. 1.
Nasiruddin’s is the fourth senior Haqqani Network leader killed in the past two years. The other three leaders were killed by US drone strikes. Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a deputy to Haqqani Network operational commander Sirajuddin Haqqani who served as the Taliban’s shadow governor in Paktika province, Afghanistan, was killed in a drone strike in September 2013. Badruddin Haqqani, a top deputy and brother of Sirajuddin, was killed in a drone strike sometime in August 2012. And Jan Baz Zadran, Sirajuddin’s Haqqani’s deputy who served as the third in command for the terror network, was killed in a drone strike in October 2011.
Nasiruddin is a key financier and “emissary” for the Haqqani Network. He is one of several brothers of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the overall operational leader of the Haqqani Network as well as the leader of the Miramshah Regional Military Shura, one of the Afghan Taliban’s four regional commands. Siraj was designated by the State Department as a terrorist in March 2008; and in March 2009, the State Department put out a bounty of $5 million for information leading to his capture. US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that Siraj is a member of al Qaeda’s top council.
The US Treasury Department added Nasiruddin to its list of specially designated global terrorists in July 2010. According to the Treasury, he traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates between 2004-2009 to carry out fundraising for the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.
“As of mid-2007, [Nasiruddin] Haqqani reportedly received funding from “donations from the Gulf region, drug trafficking, and payments from al Qaeda,” Treasury stated. “In 2004, he traveled to Saudi Arabia with a Taliban associate to raise funds for the Taliban.”
Nasiruddin is based out of Miramshah in the tribal agency of North Waziristan in Pakistan. He is known to speak Arabic and is also a close aide to his father.
The Haqqani Network has extensive links with al Qaeda and the Taliban, and its relationship with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency has allowed the network to survive and thrive in its fortress stronghold of North Waziristan. The Haqqanis control large swaths of the tribal area and run a parallel administration with courts, recruiting centers, tax offices, and security forces. They have established multiple training camps and safe houses used by al Qaeda leaders and operatives, as well as by Taliban foot soldiers preparing to fight in Afghanistan.
The Haqqani Network has been implicated in some of the biggest terror attacks in the Afghan capital city of Kabul, including the January 2008 suicide assault on the Serena hotel, the February 2009 assault on Afghan ministries, and the July 2008 and October 2009 suicide attacks against the Indian embassy. American intelligence agencies confronted the Pakistani government with evidence, including communications intercepts, which proved the ISI’s direct involvement in the 2008 Indian embassy bombing. [See LWJ report Pakistan’s Jihad and Threat Matrix report Pakistan backs Afghan Taliban for additional information on the ISI’s complicity in attacks in Afghanistan and the region.]
Despite the known presence of al Qaeda and other foreign groups in North Waziristan, and requests by the US that action be taken against these groups, the Pakistani military has indicated that it has no plans to take on the Haqqani Network or allied Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar. The Haqqanis and Bahadar’s fighters are considered “good Taliban” by the Pakistani military establishment as they do not carry out attacks inside Pakistan.