16:00 GMT08 April 2020
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    The United States has designated a senior operational leader of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network, as a foreign terrorist.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States has designated Aziz Haqqani, a senior operational leader of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network, as a foreign terrorist for his orchestration of high-profile attacks against the Afghan government, the US State Department said in a press release.

    The announcement of Haqqani’s terrorist designation comes at the same time as Washington is publicly supporting the Afghan government to negotiate a peace settlement with the Taliban.

    "Aziz Haqqani has been involved in planning and carrying out improvised explosive device attacks against Afghan government targets…and assumed responsibility for all major Haqqani Network attacks after the death of his brother, Badruddin Haqqani [in 2012]," the release said on Tuesday.

    In August 2014, the State Department authorized a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Aziz Haqqani’s whereabouts, according to the release.

    The Haqqani Network, designated as a terrorist organization in 2012, operates primarily out of northwest Pakistan and is considered the "most lethal insurgent group" targeting US-led coalition troops and Afghan government forces, the State Department said.

    The group is responsible for many high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including the 19-hour attack on the US Embassy in Kabul and coalition headquarters in September 2011.

    In August 2012, Badruddin Haqqani, Aziz’s predecessor, was reportedly killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan in northwest Pakistan.

    The Haqqani Network was founded in the 1970s by former Afghan mujahidin commander Jalauddin Haqqani.


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