The operational leader of the Taliban faction known as the Haqqani network denied killing the Afghan government’s peace envoy, former Afgan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, in an interview with the BBC released yesterday.
Sirajuddin Haqqani also denied US allegations that the Haqqanis, blamed for a string of high--profile attacks on Western targets in the Afghan capital, were currently linked to Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.
“We haven’t killed Burhanuddin Rabbani and this has been said many times by the spokespersons of the Islamic Emirate,” he said, referring to the Taliban.
Afghan officials blamed the Taliban for the Sept. 20 turban bombing that killed Rabbani in Kabul, saying the killer was Pakistani and that it was plotted by the Afghan Taliban’s leadership body, the Quetta Shura, in Pakistan.
However, no Afghan officials have specifically accused the Haqqani network over the killing. The network is considered loyal to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and has a seat on the Taliban leadership council.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is reviewing his strategy for talking peace with the Taliban in the wake of the killing of Rabbani, who was chairman of the High Peace Council, his spokesman has said.
Haqqani said during the 1980s anti-Soviet resistance, mujahidin fighters “had contacts with the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and other countries, but after the invasion by the Americans, there have never been contacts by intelligence agencies of other countries which could be effective for us.”
He went on to claim that the US and other countries had contacted the Haqqanis to try to persuade them to join the Afghan government, but accused them of trying to create “tension” among insurgents.
The group has “been contacted and are being contacted by intelligence agencies of many Islamic and non-Islamic countries, including the US, asking us to leave the sacred jihad and take an important part in the current government,” he said.
The Haqqani network was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a warlord who made his name during the 1980s fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan, when he received funding from Pakistan and the CIA.
However, his son Sirajuddin now effectively runs the network, which has been blamed for recent attacks, including a 19-hour siege in Kabul last month that targeted the US embassy and international military headquarters.
The US has recently stepped up pressure on Pakistan to tackle Haqqani rear bases on its soil.
The BBC, which posted the comments on its Web site, said it conducted the interview by submitting written questions to Haqqani, who then recorded an audio response.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete