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Afghan security forces arrest 11 Haqqani militants in Kabul

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KABUL (Reuters) – Eleven members of the Haqqani militant network have been arrested in the Afghan capital, the National Directorate of Security said on Wednesday, a day after the Taliban announced the death of the group’s founder.

The 11 were arrested and weapons, ammunition and a large amount of explosives were seized during an operation by Afghan special forces, the NDS said in a statement. It did not say when the arrests were made.

“The group was mainly involved in bomb blasts and targeted the killing of government employees and tribal elders in Kabul,” the statement said.

The Taliban said on Tuesday that Jalaluddin Haqqani, who founded the Haqqani network in the 1970s, had died after a long illness. Haqqani’s son, Sirajuddin, is in operational control of the network and it was not clear what practical impact his death may have on its activities.

Jalaluddin Haqqani achieved prominence as a guerrilla leader in the U.S.-backed campaign against Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan during the 1980s but later allied himself with the Taliban, fighting American troops after the Taliban were ousted in 2001.

The Haqqani network is known for bloody attacks against government institutions and Afghan and foreign forces in Afghanistan as well as other targets.

(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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