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Afghanistan

Senior Haqqani leader arrested in Afghanistan

Reuters/Ahmad Masood

Security forces say they have captured Haji Mali Khan, a senior commander of the Taliban-linked insurgent group, Haqqani. The group has been blamed for a number of attacks in the Afghan capital, Kabul. 

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The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force, Isaf, said Khan was captured in Paktiya province in southeast Afghanistan on Tuesday.

As well as being a senior Haqqani network commander, Khan is also the uncle of its leader Siraj Haqqani.

The Haqqani network was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a warlord who made his name during the 1980s jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

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

Isaf says Khan reportedly worked directly under Siraj Haqqani. He managed bases and had oversight of operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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

The network has been blamed for a string of attacks in Afghanistan, particularly in the capital Kabul.

Most recently, Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, said it was behind a 19-hour attack which targeted the American embassy and led to at least six rocket-propelled grenades landing in its grounds.

The announcement of his capture comes as the United States puts increasing pressure on Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network.

The group's leadership is based in Pakistan's border regions and last week, the retiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, charged it was a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's intelligence service.

An accusation which angered Pakistan.

 

 

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