Taliban Deny Badruddin's Death

News - Afghanistan

A Taliban spokesman rejected reports that Badruddin Haqqani, who headed operations for the militant Haqqani network, was killed Friday in a US drone strike in Pakistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an emailed statement to media late Saturday that Haqqani is alive and in good health in Afghanistan.

"The death of Badruddin Haqqani is not true. He is currently in the country and busy with planning the operations. He is completely fine," Mujahid said in the statement. "The report of his death was media propaganda to support the enemies in order to give their troops high-moral."

But Pakistani intelligence officials have also said they are 90 percent certain he was killed in the US missile strike Tuesday in Pakistan's North Waziristan region, telling the Associated Press that their information was based on reports received from their agents in the field.

Also, a family member of the Haqqani's told BBC on Saturday that Badruddin Haqqani died last Tuesday in North Waziristan.

The death has not been confirmed by US or Pakistani officials, but the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) deputy spokesman Shafiqullah Taheri was treating the news as final.

"The death of Badruddin is a massive major blow for the Haqqani network," he told TOLOnews Sunday.

The Taliban statement came after US officials told media that Badruddin Haqqani was believed to have been killed in a US drone strike on Friday.

Badruddin is considered second in seniority to the Haqqani network's leader, his older brother Sirajuddin Haqqani. Both men are believed to direct operations in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the death of Mullah Dadullah, the militant Tehreek-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader in Pakistan's tribal Bajaur Agency, in a Nato airstrike in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province was confirmed by the TTP.

Dadullah's top deputy, Shakir, was also killed.

Mullah Abu Bakr will take over Dadullah's position in Bajaur, the TTP said in the statement the day after security forces announced Dadullah's death.

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