Eleven members of Afghanistan’s dreaded Haqqani militant network have been arrested in Kabul, the Afghan intelligence agency said on Wednesday, a day after the announcement of the death of the group’s founder.
Afghan special forces arrested the militants in Kabul city and nearby districts, the National Directorate of Security said in a statement. They are suspected of involvement in bombings and targeted killings of government employees and “influential figures,” the NDS said.
A large quantity of explosives and munitions were seized in the operation, it added, without saying when the militants were arrested.
The statement comes a day after the Taliban announced the death of the Haqqani Network’s founder Jalaluddin Haqqani. It did not say when he died.
Jalaluddin was a one-time CIA asset in the fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s before founding the brutal Haqqani Network that is now a top U.S. target.
The extremist group has long been allied with the Taliban in the war against the Afghan government and its international backers. It is known for its heavy use of suicide bombers and was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 2012.
The group has been blamed for spectacular attacks across Afghanistan and is widely suspected of being behind recent assaults on Kabul that were claimed by the local wing of the Islamic State group.
Jalaluddin is believed to have been bedridden for years before his death. He had already passed the leadership to his son Sirajuddin, who is also the Taliban’s deputy leader.