Taliban officials issued a statement this week confirming that Haqqani Network founder and long-time leader Jalaluddin Haqqani has died. He was believed to be 79 years old, though his exact date of birth was unclear.
Haqqani spent nearly the whole of the second half of his life as a rebel leader, first as a major figure in fighting the Soviet occupation, during which he was heavily funded by the US government, then subsequently against the US during their own occupation of Afghanistan.
Despite being praised by the US throughout the Soviet war, he and his network were vilified during the US occupation. Haqqani Network has often been blamed for the failures in the Afghan War, and his ties to Pakistan have been the justification for much of the US anti-Pakistan rhetoric.
It is doubtful that Haqqani’s death will have a major impact on the war, however, as he had given up control of his network to his son Sirajuddin Haqqani years ago. The group is considered influential within the Taliban, but its size is often disputed.