The Taliban say the Afghan Haqqani network founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, an ex-US ally turned fierce enemy, has died after years of ill health. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told the AP that Haqqani died on Monday inside Afghanistan. The elderly founder of the outlawed group had been paralyzed for the past 10 years. The Haqqani network was declared a terrorist organization by the United States in 2012. Haqqani, whose son is believed to have taken over the network in 2001, had not been heard from in several years, and reports of his death had been widespread in 2015.
In announcing Haqqani's death Tuesday, Mujahed called him a religious scholar and an "exemplary warrior" who was "among the great distinguished Jihadi personalities of this era." Haqqani, whose group had close ties to both the Taliban and al-Qaeda, was a prized CIA asset when Afghan guerrillas were fighting Soviet forces in the 1980s, the BBC reports. He allied himself with the Taliban after they seized power in 1996, and his group is believed to have been behind many recent attacks on NATO and Afghan forces.
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