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Death of Afghan group's founder unlikely to weaken militants
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ISLAMABAD (AP) — The death of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of Afghanistan's outlawed militant network that bears his name, is unlikely to weaken the group that is considered the most formidable of the Taliban's fighting forces.The Taliban said Haqqani died Monday at age 71 after reports of years of ill health, including Parkinson's disease. Because of his infirmity, stewardship of the organization had been given to one of his 12 sons, Sirajuddin, whose military prowess is credited with plotting and carrying out some of more audacious attacks assigned to the network.The younger Haqqani is also deputy head of the Taliban, who have waged increasingly sophisticated and coordinated attacks against Afghanistan's struggling security forces. Washington's own watchdog in a recent report said nearly half of Afghanistan is either under the control of the Taliban or influenced by the religious militia.Jalaluddin Haqqani, once hailed as a freedom fighter by U.S. President Ronald Reagan for opposing the Soviet Union's presence in Afghanistan during the Cold War, had been paralyzed for the past 10 years, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.