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U.S. blamed in slaying of terror group leader

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By The Los Angeles Times
Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, 6:18 p.m.
 

ISLAMABAD — A financier and senior leader of the feared Haqqani network, a group credited with attacks on the Indian Embassy in Kabul and numerous strikes on NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shot to death on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, a Taliban spokesman said on Monday.

Shortly after Nasiruddin Haqqani, the son of group founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, was killed late Sunday, his body was secreted away to Miranshah in the North Waziristan tribal area near the Afghan border to be buried, said Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, who spoke to journalists by phone from an undisclosed location. This is the same area where Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Nov. 1. Shahid said the two were close.

A member of the Haqqani family who asked not to be identified said Nasiruddin's funeral was held Monday at an undisclosed location.

Shahid charged that the Pakistan government was involved in Nasiruddin's killing, adding that he believed it was done at the behest of the United States. “We will take revenge,” he said.

No one took immediate responsibility for the killing, and Islamabad police said they were not aware of the incident. Nasiruddin was returning home Sunday night from a mosque when he was shot in a car by a gunman on a motorcycle, according to media reports that could not be confirmed.

Nasiruddin, who is on both U.S. and U.N. global terrorist lists, is believed to be the network's main financier, negotiator and a key liaison with outside groups. Nasiruddin's brother, Sirajuddin Haqqani, heads the network while Jalaluddin remains its figurehead. Nasiruddin has been individually sanctioned, making him subject to an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo, while Sirajuddin is the object of a $5 million U.S. reward for information leading to his arrest.

The Haqqani network is among the most feared insurgent groups fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But it has suffered heavy losses. Nasiruddin's brother Badruddin, said to be the group's operational commander, was killed in a drone strike in August 2012. And another brother, Mohammad Haqqani, was killed in a drone strike at his home in the Miranshah area. Their father Jalaluddin's health is suffering, tribal residents said, which is why Sirajuddin assumed more responsibility.

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