Senior Haqqani leader captured in Afghanistan: NATO

October 1st, 2011 - 7:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Kabul, Oct 1 (IANS) A senior leader of the Haqqani network has been arrested in Afghanistan by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the military alliance said in a statement released Saturday.

“A combined Afghan and coalition security force captured the senior Haqqani network leader in Afghanistan during a security operation in Jani Khel district, Paktiya province Tuesday,” according to the statement, reported Xinhua.

“Security forces detained Haji Mali Khan, the uncle of Siraj and Badruddin Haqqani and the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan. He was one of the highest ranking members of the Haqqani network and a revered elder of the Haqqani clan,” the statement said.

Mali Khan, according to the statement, moved forces from Pakistan to Afghanistan to conduct terrorist activity. Jalaluddin Haqqani consistently placed Mali Khan in positions of high importance.

In the past year, Haji Mali Khan established a militant camp in Mangal tribal lands in Paktiya province, coordinated the transfer of money for insurgents operations, and facilitated the acquisition of supplies, the statement asserted.

“Although he was heavily armed during the operation that led to his capture, Mali Khan submitted to the security force without incident or resistance,” the statement contended.

“The Haqqani network and its safe havens remain a top priority for Afghan and coalition forces. Security forces have conducted more than 500 operations so far in 2011 in an effort to disrupt the Haqqani network leadership, resulting in the death of 20 network facilitators and the capture of nearly 300 insurgent leaders and 1,300 suspected Haqqani insurgents,” the ISAF statement said.

The arrest of Mali Khan took place in the wake of accusation by Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff, who described the Haqqani network as “a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s intelligence service, last week.

Founded by Mawlawi Jalaludin Haqqani, the father of Sirajudin Haqqani, the Haqqani network is the military wing of the Taliban outfit and has been operating in Afghan capital Kabul and eastern Afghan provinces along the border with Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“The capture of Haji Mali Khan marks a significant milestone in the disruption of the Haqqani network,” the ISAF statement said.

Taliban militants have yet to make comment.

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