Taliban denies Badruddin Haqqani death

Islamabad: The family of Afghan Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani and a senior commander of the dreaded Haqqani network have rejected reports of the death of warlord Badruddin Haqqani in a US drone strike in Pakistan`s restive North Waziristan last week.

Maulvi Ahmed Jan, a top commander of the Haqqani network, claimed Badruddin, believed to be in mid-30s was safe. "Badruddin Haqqani is safe and sound and engaged in jihad against the occupying forces in Afghanistan along with male members of the Haqqani family," he said.

"The only family member who died in the drone attack last Tuesday was 13-year-old Osama, who was not involved in the operational affairs of the Haqqani network and was a distant relative of Badruddin Haqqani," Jan was quoted as saying by The News today.

Badruddin, the son of Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani, is ranked as a deputy to his elder brother and the network`s chief Sirajuddin was believed to be killed in one of the five volleys of drone strikes in Pakistan`s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan since August 18.

Some youths, including relatives of Jalaluddin Haqqani, had arranged a trip to celebrate Eid near the Afghan border when they were targeted by a drone, he claimed. Five youths were killed and several others injured in the attack, he said.

The funeral of these persons was held in North Waziristan and the media reported that it was the funeral of Badruddin Haqqani, he said.

"We have proudly announced earlier whenever our people died in action or in drone strikes. Jihad against the occupying forces in Afghanistan is our mission and death is certain in fighting, then why should we keep it a secret?" Jan said.

Members of Jalaluddin Haqqani`s family also told The News that Badruddin Haqqani had not been killed. They too denied reports of Badruddin`s funeral being held in Miranshah town.

A family member claimed Badruddin had taken part in a number of "spectacular attacks" against NATO forces in Satto Kandao and Shwak areas of Afghanistan`s Paktia province.

The US media had reported yesterday that American officials believed Badruddin Haqqani had been killed in a drone strike carried out on August 21.