A senior leader of the Haqqani network, one of the most feared groups fighting US troops in Afghanistan, has been shot dead on the outskirts of Islamabad, a Pakistani Taliban commander and an intelligence official have said.
Nasiruddin Haqqani was gunned down on Sunday night in a residential area of Islamabad called Bhara Kahu, only a few kilometres from the US embassy.
The Haqqani network is a key ally of the Afghan Taliban and has pledged allegiance to its leader, Mullah Omar, though it operates fairly independently.
Nasiruddin’s presence in the Pakistani capital could raise questions in Washington.
US officials have accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of supporting the Haqqani network as a key proxy in the Afghan war, an allegation denied by Islamabad.
His death will also likely raise questions in Pakistan since he was wanted by the Americans, and the US is often accused of running an elaborate spy network across the country.
The US has also been targeting Haqqani fighters and their allies in North Waziristan with dozens of drone attacks, sparking tension with Islamabad.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the killing.
After the shooting, Nasiruddin’s body was taken to the town of Miran Shah in the North Waziristan tribal area, the Haqqani network’s main sanctuary in Pakistan, where he is expected to be buried Monday afternoon, the Taliban commander, Ahsanullah Ahsan, and the intelligence official said.
Nasiruddin was considered an important financier and emissary for the Haqqani network, which is currently led by his brother, Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Their father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, founded the group and is well-known for fighting the Soviets after they invaded Afghanistan in 1979. [AP]