High-profile assassination: Haqqani Network key leader slain near Islamabad

Published: November 12, 2013
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A residence believed to belong to Nasiruddin Haqqani is pictured in the Bara Kahu area on the outskirts of Islamabad. PHOTO AFP

A residence believed to belong to Nasiruddin Haqqani is pictured in the Bara Kahu area on the outskirts of Islamabad. PHOTO AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

A senior member of the Haqqani Network – the deadliest of all Afghan Taliban factions – was killed in a drive-by shooting in the suburbs of the federal capital on Sunday night.

Dr Nasiruddin Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of Haqqani Network, was shot dead by gunmen riding motorcycles in front of a naan (bread) shop. The incident took place on Simly Dam Road, 200 metres from Bhara Kahu police station around 8:30pm on Sunday.

The body was removed before the local police reached the scene. “We cannot confirm that it was Nasiruddin Haqqani because we haven’t seen the body,” a senior police official said. He said the body was immediately driven away in a Toyota Land Cruiser. Nasiruddin was believed to be in his 40s.

However, tribal sources confirmed the slain man was Nasiruddin. “I can confirm that Dr Nasir has been martyred,” a Pakistani militant, who had previously worked with the Haqqani Network, confirmed to The Express Tribune.

The body was immediately taken to North Waziristan Agency. “Dr Nasir’s body was later sent to Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan, for burial,” a Haqqani Network member said. Family sources said Nasiruddin was buried in North Waziristan, where his father has built a huge religious school.

Nasiruddin came under fire as he disembarked from his SUV and started walking towards the naan shop, police said quoting eyewitnesses. The shopkeeper also suffered gunshot wounds. “The gunmen checked Nasiruddin’s pulse to make sure he was dead before fleeing the scene,” said a police official quoting eyewitnesses.

His driver, who was standing at a distance, shifted the body to the vehicle and drove it to his residence in Shahpur, a rural area on the outskirts of the city. Residents of Shahpur said they had seen Nasiruddin and some other men moving in and out of a house every few weeks.

Nasiruddin was known to be the group’s main fundraiser and the contact person between foreign ‘donors’ and Taliban supporters.

A spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also confirmed the death and vowed to take revenge, while accusing the country’s premier intelligence agency of killing him. “Nasiruddin Haqqani has been martyred by ISI,” TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid told AFP. “He was killed because he bravely supported Taliban chief Hakeemullah Mehsud.”

Afghanistan’s spy agency, the National Directorate of Security, also confirmed Nasiruddin’s death but blamed it on an ‘internal conflict’. It did not give further details.

Nasiruddin was responsible for fundraising, logistics and political affairs of the Haqqani Network, tribal sources said. “He was also in charge of the network’s foreign affairs on the special instructions of his father,” a leader of the network told The Express Tribune. He had been dealing with the group’s peace process when the Taliban engaged in dialogue from time to time.

The Haqqanis have been blamed for spectacular attacks on Afghan government and Nato targets across Afghanistan, as well as for kidnappings and murders. The United States put the Haqqani Network on its terror blacklist in September 2012 and the Pentagon said the group represented a ‘significant threat’ to national security.

Nasiruddin is the fourth son of Jalaluddin to have been killed in fighting and US drone attacks. His brother, Badruddin Haqqani, died in a US Predator strike in North Waziristan in August last year. Another brother Muhammad Haqqani, 22, was also killed in an American drone attack in North Waziristan in 2009, while Umer Haqqani, the youngest of all brothers, died in fighting in Afghanistan in 2008. He was 17.

No one claimed responsibility for the assassination of Nasiruddin.

Some Pakistani television channels reported that Nasiruddin was, in fact, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Afghan Taliban’s chief spokesperson, who regularly fed news to local and international media. However, another Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousaf denied the media reports. “He was not Zabihullah Mujahid,” he told The Express Tribune in a text message.

Nasiruddin had been deeply involved in the Taliban’s Qatar peace process and had also visited Doha after the Taliban opened a ‘political office’ in June, a Qatar-based Taliban negotiator told The Express Tribune by phone.

“He was in Qatar days after the office was opened but was not a regular member of the dialogue process,” he added. “He used to visit the UAE to share with Taliban leaders his suggestions and to keep himself abreast of the dialogue process.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Nadir
    Nov 12, 2013 - 2:33AM

    So how exactly does a senior figure of the Haqqani network get to live just outside Islamabad proper?

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  • Prasad babu
    Nov 12, 2013 - 2:35AM

    The body was removed and there is no proof it was Haqqani. Hmmmm…. Interesting. Who would do such a thing?

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  • Umer
    Nov 12, 2013 - 2:44AM

    He was an Afghan national. Who gave him visa for Pakistan?Recommend

  • Shah
    Nov 12, 2013 - 3:00AM

    Another one found in our country!!! So what was he doing here ? How was he able to operate ? Heads need to role.

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  • Insider
    Nov 12, 2013 - 3:01AM

    RAW

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  • Babloo
    Nov 12, 2013 - 3:15AM

    On the roof top, is that the watch tower ?

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  • Nov 12, 2013 - 3:16AM

    These double games are just insane. The guy is openly living and travelling all over the place, collecting funds between the Gulf and Pak, and no one bothers to arrest him, let alone hold onto his body for investigation, and probably will never hold an inquiry or reveal what’s happening.

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  • polpot
    Nov 12, 2013 - 4:00AM

    ” The body was immediately taken to North Waziristan Agency. “Dr Nasir’s body was later sent to Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan, for burial,”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Obviously the law is different for the Haqqanis. No police report, no post mortem no FIR.

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  • Umer
    Nov 12, 2013 - 4:09AM

    @Insider:

    RAW

    RAW is so good we should send our agencies to train from them.

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  • Zalmai
    Nov 12, 2013 - 4:10AM

    Music to my ears, another one bites the dust and another one and another one…..whoever did it, more power.

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  • faizaan
    Nov 12, 2013 - 4:57AM

    operating at such a level is high stakes game…you either kill or get killed.

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  • Waseem
    Nov 12, 2013 - 5:31AM

    Hello Pakistan Intelligence services…where are you? whets happening? explain, please.

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  • Naveen
    Nov 12, 2013 - 7:00AM

    The killing of Nasiruddin Haqqani in the outskirts of Islamabad is truly unbelievable on many counts. If the picture of the house is his, then that is a beautiful house, and how can a marked terrorist live in such manner so close to the nation’s capital? This story is no different than Osama Bin Laden living in a large mansion like house in Abbottabad outside a premier military academy. Haqqani gets killed in broad daylight in plain sight of several witnesses and his body is removed and taken for burial clear across the country and the government and law enforcement folks cannot trace or intercept? Is this hard to believe or is this possible and is the truth? Political and religious leaders as well as terrorists all throw around the word martyrs and martyrdom as if they come dime a dozen. Do this people even know the meaning of those words? Do people of Pakistan realize that those words anywhere in world are not spoken so cheaply and so carelessly and the meaning of the words martyr and martyrdom is not even understood by these men who utter it? Do people of Pakistan realize that there country has been hijacked, that no one has any control of the country; police, armed force, government, politicians, religious leaders, civic bodies? When will the people of Pakistan wake up from there slumber?

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  • Ahmed Ali Khan
    Nov 12, 2013 - 8:26AM

    @Umer:

    I dont know the present situation but it was a norm for Afghan national to travel without passport and visa to Pakistan in the past. Similarly pukhtoons of Pakistan also goes to Afghanistan in the similar way. Well there are others illegal routes from the mountains where they come and go. They dont need a passport or visa.

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  • Nov 12, 2013 - 8:30AM

    How come that all wanted terrorists are being killed in Pakistan? And all near military cantts. And killings are condemned by all political parties.
    A person is killed in main bazaar. He is taken hundreds km. away and buried. No identification got done by police, no postmortem. What a country it is??

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  • Np
    Nov 12, 2013 - 9:13AM

    @Zalmai:
    Agree. Yet the chatter about how USA is losing and leaving will continue.

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  • turthneverlies
    Nov 12, 2013 - 9:34AM

    @Nadir:

    “So how exactly does a senior figure of the Haqqani network get to live just outside Islamabad proper?”

    The same way Bin Laden managed live comfortably near Pakistan’s premier military compound in Abbottabad: with the help of the “premier” Pak intelligence agency.

    It looks like the Pak establishment has been paid off by the Americans to start choking the Haqqani allies.

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  • PeaceMonger
    Nov 12, 2013 - 10:28AM

    The double-game is slowly unraveling – one at a time.

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  • lkhan
    Nov 12, 2013 - 12:41PM

    yet another sinister sort out of the picture. Three cheers…

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  • goldconsumer
    Nov 12, 2013 - 5:32PM

    Well Fazlullah lives in Afghanistan, Dalai lama in India, Snowden in Russia and so does this guy and bin ladin and may be many more. Its all world politics and the suffering of the common people around the world for it! Recommend

  • powvow
    Nov 12, 2013 - 7:25PM

    @goldconsumer – Your mentioning of Fazlullah along with Dalai Lama or Snowden just takes my breath away…

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  • Naveen
    Nov 12, 2013 - 8:12PM

    @goldconsumer:

    Your logic is so twisted that it only sounds good but belies the truth. Dalai Lama lives in the open in Dharamsala in India not because he wants to live there but because he is an exiled man unceremoniously kicked out of his homeland Tibet which China “stole” and annexed it to its mainland territory. Edward Snowden on the other hand is a hunted man by the U.S. and lives in Russia because he broke U.S. laws and his own oath of office when he worked for the U.S. government. Sooner more than later he will pay the price and will be brought to justice in the U.S. even if it maybe after 30 years.

    Whereas Fazlullah living in Afghanistan, if that is true which I do not know, is the way of Pakistan only. No other modern and developed country allows this sort of thing. This duality of Pakistan and th Pakistani people are well exposed everywhere in the world. That’s the reason the country as well as folks who go by the name Pakistanis are looked upon with suspicion and mistrust. I am not just maligning the name of Pakistan or Pakistanis; I am merely stating the truth. Just face up to the truth and change the trajectory. Elected officials of Pakistan (MNAs and Ministers are just the tip of the iceberg) having loyalty and citizenship in another safe country like UK, US, etc. is commonplace. That is to show that even politicians and elected officials who so call ‘govern’ and run the affairs of the country of Pakistan do not even have faith and trust in their own country that they have to take residence of another country. Please don’t say that its world politics; because it is certainly not the norm in the world. So wake up? Example… Look at Pakistan’s Interior Minister and right hand man of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, his wife and children are all U.S. citizens and Mr. Interior Minister talks like a righteous Muslim with high flying words of Patriotism in Pakistan. @goldconsumer, if Mr. Interior Minister was in the U.S. or in India, he would have never ascended to his office if his wife was a citizen of another country. That is a fact.

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  • goldconsumer
    Nov 12, 2013 - 10:21PM

    @Naveen:
    Yes my logic is entirely twisted for you and many other “Pakistan is the center of all evil since 10000BC so bomb them”, media fed people who never choose to think beyond the TV screens. Yo manage to drive attention from that twisted logic to the facts (yes i do agree with the the facts) of our misgovernance and our corrupt leadership and somehow drag “India and the US are better” into it and yet call my logic twisted in the first place! (very sensible of you). The reason i compared these three people together is based on the fact that all of these three “are” criminals in their states and are sponsored and supported by the other states for their own policies and politics somehow or the other.
    The world calls these people terrorists but choose to completely ignore that the jihadi mentality was never propagated or funded by any muslim state initially. It was the US that brought upon us and to the world this evil and thanks to our leaders successfully used them against Russia (technically Russians were invited by the then Pro USSR Afghan government). This mentality was further funded in Chechnya. It was the US that trained these men, via ISI to make bombs from household goods like fertilizer, petroleum jelly and cleaning agents! Please dont call this a twisted logic!
    You comment on us Pakistanis as people responsible for the troubles of the whole world but choose to deny the fact out of ignorance that it is always a tiny minority that you talk of! Have you ever visited Pakistan? How many Pakistanis do you actually know? You call our leadership corrupt and dual nationals and choose to ignore the fact that the whole electoral process has been so many times questioned by these same Pakistanis who you believe to be the entire world’s problem! Dont you read news about how many election results were challenged and then proven to be true! Dont you see the rise of new political forces opposing the staus quo of our country and dont give us even the benefit of the doubt that we actually “know” whats wrong with us but cant get rid of our problems because somehow the common pakistani is so much stuck up in issues that are far beyond his controls! Mark my words Naveen! IF THE WORLD CONTINUES TO PUSH US TO THE WALL, TWISTED LOGIC PEOPLE WILL BE BORN! The world did that after the WW1 to the Germans and they gave back Hitler to them in return! I hope this does not happen!

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  • Naveen
    Nov 12, 2013 - 11:35PM

    @goldconsumer
    There is no reason to take things so personally. Many things you are saying are correct but again many comments and analogies you make are extreme and beyond the pale. And calling Dalai Lama a criminal (“based on the fact that all of these three “are” criminals in their states”) is just totally out of the park and couldn’t be farther from the truth. Dalai Lama is respected all over the world except by the country of China. Please get the facts and don’t get so twisted out of shape because only the truth shall set you free.

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  • goldconsumer
    Nov 14, 2013 - 10:19AM

    @Naveen:
    Dalai lama, is a criminal in the eyes of a government representing over a billion people. The problem is that we actually believe that we are right, we have always been right and the other is wrong and has always been wrong. The height of this hypocrisy was so much evident when the secretary of state of United stated of America accepted that this mess you see in Afghanistan and Pakistan was actually created by us. The Jihadi mentality was actually created by the US thanks to support from some self centered, short sighted hypocrite regimes and mullas, and now we are being blamed for as if we (the majority of Pakistanis) are the bad guys. Please try to understand that and that is the truth. I appreciate that you are one of very few Indians who actually tend to agree with my view point how much twisted it may seem initially

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