Pakistani officials confirm US drone killed key militant
On Aug. 24, the son of the founder of the Happani militant network was killed by a US drone strike. He had been the commander of the organization's day-to-day operations.
Pakistani intelligence officials confirmed Thursday that a US drone strike last week near the Afghan border killed the son of the founder of the powerful Haqqani militant network, a major blow to one of the most feared groups fighting American troops in Afghanistan.Skip to next paragraph
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Badruddin Haqqani, who has been described as the organization's day-to-day operations commander, was killed Aug. 24 in one of three strikes that hit militant hideouts in the Shawal Valley in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area, said two senior intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
A US official confirmed that Badruddin Haqqani was killed in a CIA drone strike. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the drone program publicly.
The presence of the mostly Afghan Haqqani network in North Waziristan has been a major source of friction between Pakistan and the U.S. The Obama administration has repeatedly demanded that Pakistan prevent the group from using its territory to launch attacks in Afghanistan, but Islamabad has refused — a stance many analysts believe is driven by the country's strong historical ties to the Haqqani network's founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani.
The Pakistani intelligence officials didn't specify which strike on Aug. 24 killed Badruddin, but said he was leaving a hideout when the U.S. missiles hit. The confirmation of his death came from their sources within the Taliban, which is allied with the Haqqani network, and agents on the ground, they said. But neither the officials nor their sources have actually seen Badruddin's body.
Pakistani intelligence officials previously said they were 90 percent sure Badruddin was killed in a drone strike in a different part of North Waziristan on Aug. 21. It's unclear what caused the discrepancy.
Afghanistan's intelligence agency said several days ago that its operatives had confirmed Badruddin's death. A senior Taliban commander has also confirmed the militant's death.
A Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabiullah Mujahid, has however rejected reports of Badruddin's death, calling them "propaganda of the enemy."
The U.S. does not often comment publicly on the covert CIA drone program in Pakistan.
The areas where the American drone strikes generally occur are extremely remote and dangerous, making it difficult to verify a particular person's death.
Badruddin was considered a vital part of the Haqqani structure.
The U.S. State Department has designated Badruddin, along with his father and brothers — Nasiruddin and Sirajuddin — as terrorists. The State Department said in May 2011 that Badruddin sits on the Miram Shah Shura, a group that controls all Haqqani network activities and coordinates attacks in southeastern Afghanistan.
Badruddin is also believed to have been responsible for the 2008 kidnapping of New York Times reporter David Rohde, the department said.