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Drone Strike Kills Haqqani Network Commander


A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator drone (file photo)
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan -- A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area has killed six members of the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, including a senior commander of the group.

An RFE/RL correspondent reports that Mullah Sangeen Zadran and other Haqqani network militants were killed shortly after midnight near Ghulam Khan on the border with Afghanistan on September 6.

Pakistani intelligence officials said others killed by the strike included three foreigners and two Pakistanis.

They identified the foreigners as Egyptian explosives expert Zubair al-Modi, 25-year-old Abu Dajan Khurasani, and Muhammad Bilal, who also goes by the name "Khusasan."

The Pakistanis were described by intelligence officials as "locals" named Arshad and Ajmal.

In a statement, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the U.S. drone strike, saying, "These unilateral strikes are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

On The U.S. Blacklist

Zadran has been on the U.S. terrorist blacklist since August 2011. He was the Taliban's shadow governor in the Afghan province of Paktika.

Zadran was also wanted for orchestrating kidnappings and terrorist bombings, as well as for sending hundreds of militants across the border into Afghanistan.

The Haqqani network is an Islamist militant group that operates on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Allied with the Taliban, it is led by Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani.

It has been fighting against U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, as well as the government in Kabul.

The group's ties with the Al-Qaeda terrorist network date back to the founding of Al-Qaeda.

Its fighters had been nurtured by the CIA and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

It also receives funding from wealthy Arab donors in the Middle East.

The Haqqani family is from southeastern Afghanistan and belongs to the Mezi clan of the ethnic Pashtun Zadran tribe.

With reporting by AFP
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