Senior Haqqani commander captured in Afghanistan

A senior commander of the Taliban-allied Haqqani network, Haji Mali Khan, has been captured by Afghan and coalition forces, the NATO-led ISAF force has said. The Haqqani network has been blamed for a string of attacks in Kabul.

By News Wires (text)

AFP – A senior Haqqani network commander in Afghanistan who is also the uncle of its leader has been captured in the war-torn country, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said Saturday.

“Security forces detained Haji Mali Khan, uncle of Siraj and Badruddin Haqqani and the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan,” ISAF said in a statement, adding he was captured in southeast Afghanistan Tuesday.

The announcement came as the United States puts increasing pressure on Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network, a Taliban-allied insurgent group blamed by officials for many attacks in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Last week, retiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen accused Pakistan of exporting violence to Afghanistan through proxies.

He also charged that the Haqqani network, whose leadership is based in Pakistan’s border regions, was a “veritable arm” of Pakistani intelligence.

In an interview Friday, President Barack Obama did not endorse Mullen’s accusations but said Pakistan “have got to take care of this problem”.

The Haqqani network was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a warlord who made his name during the 1980s jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, when he received funding from Pakistan and the CIA.

Haqqani is a member of the Taliban’s supreme council but his son Sirajuddin now effectively runs the network.

Khan was captured close to Afghanistan’s porous border with Pakistan in Paktiya province.

“He reportedly worked directly under Siraj Haqqani, and managed bases and had oversight of operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan,” ISAF said.

“Mali Khan moved forces from Pakistan to Afghanistan to conduct terrorist activity. Jalaluddin Haqqani consistently placed Mali Khan in positions of high importance.”