Taliban claim to control Haqqani network

Rome, Sep 27 (IANS/AKI) The Taliban said Tuesday they - and not Pakistan - control the Haqqani network in Afghanistan, and denied having any links with Islamabad.

'All military and civilian activities in the country (Afghanistan) are our own initiatives and our own actions,' the Taliban said in a statement.

'The respected Maulawi Jalaluddin Haqqani is one of the Islamic Emirate's honourable and dignified personalities and receives all guidance for operations from the leader of Islamic Emirate,' it said, referring to the founder of the Haqqani network.

US officials blame the network for numerous attacks on American targets, including the Sep 13 attack on its embassy in Kabul, in which at least 14 people died.

The Taliban denied claims by the US that in Afghanistan they were in disarray, and asked Washington to rapidly withdraw from the country.

'Instead of baseless accusations, more casualties and a constant attempt to conceal losses and failures, it would be better for America and her allies to put an end to the occupation of Afghanistan as quickly as possible and do now what must inevitably be done,' the statement said.

'The Islamic Emirate is at its strongest and unified more than it has been at any other stage. It is also enjoying the vast support and backing of its nation and has control over more than half the regions of Afghanistan,' it claimed.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner has said America was considering placing the Haqqani network on its list of terrorist groups.

--IANS/AKI

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