Hours after US media reports about the possible death of Badruddin Haqqani, the operational chief of the infamous Haqqani network, in a drone strike, denials trickled in.
If true, Badruddin’s death could have been a major blow to the Haqqani network and a huge success in America’s unmanned war in the tribal regions against the group blamed for some of the most spectacular attacks against US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan.
“Badruddin was killed in a US drone strike in the Shawal area of North Waziristan on Tuesday,” a sympathiser of the Haqqani network told The Express Tribune. “He was sitting with three or four of his comrades when an unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at the compound.”
A leader of a Pakistani religious organisation having close ties with the Haqqani network also confirmed Badruddin’s death. “We are in shock,” he said, requesting anonymity.
Earlier in the day, The New York Times quoted senior American officials as saying that they have strong indications that Badruddin was killed in the drone strike.
“There are indications that Haqqani has met his demise,” a senior US official told NYT in Washington. He said that officials were waiting to sift through evidence before they could be certain that Badruddin had been killed.
The CIA, which carries out armed drone missions in tribal regions, declined to comment, as did the White House. The caution stemmed from previous erroneous claims by American and Pakistani officials about militant deaths in Waziristan.
The caution was, however, not unfounded.
Later in the evening, the Haqqani network chief dismissed reports of Badruddin’s death as “ridiculous”.
“We will not hide it if any of the Haqqani family members are martyred,” Ahmad Jan, the purported spokesperson for the network’s chief Sirajuddin Haqqani, told The Express Tribune by phone. “Martyrdom will only boost our jihadi spirit.”
Jan, however, confirmed that another member of the Haqqani family was killed in the same drone strike. Osama, son of a cousin of Badruddin, was killed about five kilometres from Miramshah four days ago. The 13-year-old was targeted while he was celebrating Eid with his friends, according to Jan.
“Some people assumed it was Badruddin Haqqani who had been killed when they saw his family members at the funeral,” he said.
The Afghan Taliban also said that Badruddin was alive and leading operations inside Afghanistan. “He is safe and reports of his death have been spread by the enemy,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement emailed to The Express Tribune.
According to him, the enemy spread rumours of Badruddin’s death “to divert attention from the defeat of its troops in Afghanistan and boost the morale of its forces.”
“We categorically deny these reports and request the media to adopt a responsible behavior,” Mujahid said.
Pakistani analysts are divided over the impact Badruddin’s possible death would have on the operational capability of the Haqqani Network.
While defence expert Hasan Askari says Badruddin’s death would strengthen the US, former Pakistani ambassador in Kabul Rustam Shah Mohmand maintains it will have no major impact as Sirajuddin Haqqani is already in charge of the group’s operations.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2012.
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Taliban wants US ARMY to stay till the collapse of United states of America.they will not allow NATO troops to leave AFghanistan.this is MuLlah Omer manifesto that's why they are not coming on negotiating table.
the only way to defeat them is by bringing UN peace force on both sides of border i bet the movement will be stopped and they wont have any place to hide and rest
This time the US claims there was no collateral damage, therefore Obama will keep on doing what he has been doing. It seems Obama has killed more innocent civilians as he called it collateral damage than Bush. I am surprised why the Stockholm did not give Bush the Noble Peace Prize too, I suppose they did not foresee that Obama will be better killing machine than Bush but Bush has done his part in Iraq, he deserve it too.
@Roflcopter: Savages killing innocent Pakistanis every day of the year. Pathetic.
Noose is tightening around the criminals. You can run, but you can't hide.
It means action against Haqqani Network finally begins
savages killed a 13 year old boy on Eid day, pathetic.
USA just expand-ible in Afghan War, many of us say there is no solution
Any unconstitutional outfit cannot be tolerated and must be eliminated.
It seems Pakistan and the U.S. have launched joint operations as top militant commanders -- Badruddin Haqqani and Maulvi dadullah were killed on both sides of the border in few days.
What's the point? Thousands of American soldiers dead and dying, a weak and corrupt government, Taliban control over the majority of Afghanistan. And somehow a few individuals in Waziristan huts can change this wars outcome? US army, accept defeat and leave.
"According to him, the enemy spread rumours of Badruddin’s death “to divert attention from the defeat of its troops in Afghanistan and boost the morale of its forces.”"
What's funny about that is, they're actually doing what they accuse the other side of doing by making that claim.