ISLAMABAD — Pakistani intelligence officials confirmed Thursday that a U.S. 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.
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. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.
The Obama administration repeatedly has 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 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 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.
A senior Taliban commander also has confirmed the militant’s death. But a Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabiullah Mujahid, has rejected reports of Badruddin’s death, calling them “propaganda of the enemy.”
The areas where the American drone strikes generally occur are extremely remote and dangerous, making it difficult for reporters or others to verify a particular person’s death.
The State Department has designated Badruddin, along with his father and brothers — Nasiruddin and Sirajuddin — as terrorists.
Badruddin also is believed to have been responsible for the 2008 kidnapping of New York Times reporter David Rohde, the department said.
By Jay Sekulow
The left's outrage over the IRS turns to a plea to 'move on'
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
This column will cover anything that has anything remotely to do with the game of baseball, from the game itself to mid-summer trades to offseason moves.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Uncensored exploration of issues concerning current events, civil liberties, American political advocacy, and the political and social issues facing military veterans.
A mother of three and a passionate conservative, Shirley Husar changes the game.
World's Ugliest Dog Contest
Spelling Bee finale
Marines train Afghan soldiers
Rolling Thunder 2013
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal