Badruddin Haqqani, a militant leader, has been confirmed dead by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, even as Taliban leaders continue to say he is alive and well.
Haqqani is the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who founded the powerful Haqqani militant network. He was reportedly killed in a US drone airstrike in Pakistan last week, the Associated Press reported.
Afghanistan agency spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiri told reporters Sunday that Badruddin Haqqani was dead, but would not answer questions about whether the agency’s sources have seen the body, NBC News reported.
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Meanwhile, the Taliban continues to deny the leader’s death: spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an email to reporters late Saturday that Haqqani was alive, CBS News reported.
“Badruddin Haqqani is in the country and he is occupied with his operational responsibilities. He is alive and healthy. The rumor about him being killed is more propaganda of the enemy,” Mujahid said.
His death has not yet been independently verified, as the drone strike occurred in remote areas of Pakistan.
According to the US State Department, Badruddin is on the Miramshah Shura council, which controls the Haqqani network activities and is responsible for attacks in southeastern Afghanistan, CBS News reported.
Badruddin is also thought to have been behind the kidnapping of New York Times reporter David Rohde in 2008.
If his death is confirmed, it would be a major setback for the Haqqani group, one of the United States’ biggest insurgent enemies in Afghanistan, NBC News reported.