Template:Infobox war faction The Haqqani network is an Islamist insurgent group using asymmetric warfare to fight against US-led NATO forces and the government of Afghanistan. Originating in Afghanistan during the mid-1970s, it was nurtured by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan. Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani lead the group, which operates on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; but U.S. officials believe it is based in Pakistan's Waziristan tribal frontier. It is allied with the Taliban.
According to US military commanders, it is "the most resilient enemy network" and one of the biggest threats to the U.S.-led NATO forces and the Afghan government in the current war in Afghanistan. It is also the most lethal network in Afghanistan.
In September 2012, the Obama administration labeled the network as a foreign terrorist organization. After this announcement, Taliban issued a statement, arguing that there is "no separate entity or network in Afghanistan by the name of Haqqani," and that Jalaluddin Haqqani is a member of the Quetta Shura, Taliban's top leadership council.
Background and origins[edit | edit source]
The Haqqani family hails from southeastern Afghanistan and belongs to the Mezi clan of the Zadran Pashtun tribe. Jalalludin Haqqani rose to prominence as a senior military leader during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Haqqani was more successful than other resistance leaders at forging relationships with outsiders prepared to sponsor resistance to the Soviets, including the CIA, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and wealthy Arab private donors from the Persian Gulf. In the late 1980s, Haqqani had the CIA's full support. Foreign jihadists recognized the network as a distinct entity as early as 1994, but Haqqani was not affiliated with the Taliban until they captured Kabul and assumed de facto control of Afghanistan in 1996. After the Taliban came to power, Haqqani accepted a cabinet level appointment as Minister of Tribal Affairs. Following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the subsequent overthrow of the Taliban government, the Haqqanis fled to the Pakistani bordering tribal regions and regrouped to fight against coalition forces across the border. As Jalaluddin has grown older his son Sirajuddin has taken over the responsibility of military operations. Journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad reported that President Hamid Karzai had invited the elder Haqqani to serve as Prime Minister in an attempt to bring "moderate" Taliban into the government. However, the offer was refused by Jalaluddin.
Leadership[edit | edit source]
- Jalaluddin Haqqani
- Sirajuddin Haqqani
- Badruddin Haqqani – younger brother of Sirajuddin. (He was reported dead on 25 August 2012. Some Taliban commanders claimed the reports of his death were true while others claimed the reports were inaccurate. However, on 29 August 2012, Pakistani officials confirmed his death in a US drone strike on 24 August 2012. The next day, this claim was backed by US officials as well.)
- Sangeen Zadran – According the US State Department, he is a senior lieutenant to Sirajuddin and the shadow governor for Paktika province in Afghanistan.
- Nasiruddin Haqqani – He is Siraj's brother and a key financier and emissary of the network. As the son of Jalaluddin's Arab wife, he speaks fluent Arabic and has traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for fundraising.
- Abdul Aziz Abbasin – According to the U.S. Treasury, he is "a key commander in the Haqqani Network" and serves as the "Taliban shadow governor of Orgun District, Paktika Province, Afghanistan."
- Haji Mali Khan – According to NATO, he is "the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan" and is uncle to Sirajuddin and Badaruddin. ISAF also reported that he acted as an emissary between Baitullah Mehsud and the Haqqanis. He was captured by ISAF forces on 27 September 2011.
Following Wikileaks July 2010 publication of 75,000 classified documents the public learned that Sirajuddin Haqqani was in the tier one of the International Security Assistance Force's Joint Prioritized Effects List – its "kill or capture" list.
Activities[edit | edit source]
Anand Gopal of the Christian Science Monitor, citing unnamed US and Afghan sources, reported in June 2009 that the leadership is based in Miranshah, North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan along the Afghan border It operates from at least three compounds: a Miranshah bazaar camp containing a madrassa and computer facilities, a compound in the nearby suburb of Sarai Darpa Khel and another compound in Danday Darpa Khel, where some of Jalaluddin's family stay. The network is active in Afghanistan's southeastern areas of Paktia Province, Paktika Province, Khost Province, Wardak Province, Logar Province, and Ghazni Province. In September 2011, Sirajuddin Haqqani told Reuters that the group feels "more secure in Afghanistan besides the Afghan people."
Haqqani is reported to run his own training camps, to recruit his own foreign fighters, and to seek out financial and logistic support on his own, from his old contacts. Some of Sirajuddin's brothers travel to the Persian Gulf region to raise funds from wealthy donors. The New York Times reported in September 2011 that the Haqqanis have set up a "ministate" in Miranshah with courts, tax offices and madrassas, and that the network runs a series of front companies selling automobiles and real estate. They also receive funds from extortion, kidnappings and smuggling operations throughout eastern Afghanistan. In an interview a former Haqqani commander called the extortion "the most important source of funding for the Haqqanis." According to a tribal elder in Paktia, "Haqqani's people ask for money from contractors working on road construction. They are asking money or goods from shopkeepers… District elders and contractors are paying money to Afghan workers, but sometimes half of the money will go to Haqqani's people."
Estimates of the Haqqanis's numbers vary. A 2009 New York Times article indicates that they are thought to have about 4,000 to 12,000 Taliban under their command while a 2011 report from the Combating Terrorism Center places its strength roughly at 10,000-15,000. During a September 2011 interview, Sirajuddin Haqqani said the figure of 10,000 fighters, as quoted in some media reports, "is actually less than the actual number." Throughout its history the network's operations have been conducted by small, semi-autonomous units organized according to tribal and sub-tribal affiliations often at the direction of and with the logistical support of Haqqani commanders. The network is comprised broadly of four groups: those who have been with Jalalludin since the Soviet-era jihad, those from Loya Paktiya who have joined since 2001, those from North Waziristan who have joined in more recent years, and foreign militants of primarily Arab, Chechen and Uzbek origins. Leadership roles are mostly filled with personnel from the first group while the relative neophytes from Loya Paktia and non-Pushtuns are not part of this inner circle.
The Haqqani network pioneered the use of suicide attacks in Afghanistan and tend to use mostly foreign bombers whereas the Taliban tend to rely on locals in attacks. The network, according to the National Journal, supplies much of the potassium chlorate used in bombs employed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Also, the network's bombs use more sophisticated remote triggering devices than the pressure-plated activators used elsewhere in Afghanistan. Sirajuddin Haqqani told MSNBC in April 2009 that his fighters had, "acquired the modern technology that we were lacking, and we have mastered new and innovative methods of making bombs and explosives."
In late 2011, a 144-page book attributed to Sirajuddin Haqqani began circulating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Described by Newsweek as a "manual for guerrillas and terrorists," the Pashto-language book details instructions on setting up a jihadi cell, receiving financing, recruiting and training. The manual advises recruits that parental permission is not necessary for jihad, that all debts should be paid before joining, and that suicide bombings and beheadings are allowed by Islam.
Attacks and alleged attacks[edit | edit source]
- 14 January 2008: 2008 Kabul Serena Hotel attack is thought[by whom?] to have been carried out by the network.
- March, 2008: Kidnapping of British journalist Sean Langan was blamed on the network.
- 27 April 2008: Assassination attempts on Hamid Karzai.
- 7 July 2008: US intelligence blamed the network for 2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul.
- 10 November 2008: The Kidnapping of David Rohde was blamed on Sirajuddin Haqqani.
- 30 December 2009: Camp Chapman attack is thought[by whom?] to have been carried out by the network.
- 18 May 2010: May 2010 Kabul bombing was allegedly[by whom?] carried out by the network.
- 19 February 2011: Kabul Bank in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
- 28 June 2011: According to ISAF, elements of the Haqqani network provided "material support" in the 2011 attack on the Hotel Inter-Continental in Kabul. The Taliban claimed responsibility.
- 10 September 2011: A massive truck bomb exploded outside Combat Outpost Sayed Abad in Wardak province, Afghanistan, killing five Afghans, including four civilians, and wounding 77 U.S. soldiers, 14 Afghan civilians, and three policemen. The Pentagon blamed the network for the attack.
- 12 September 2011: US Ambassador Ryan Crocker blamed the Haqqani network for an attack on the US Embassy and nearby NATO bases in Kabul. The attack lasted 19 hours and resulted in the deaths of four police officers and four civilians. 17 civilians and six NATO soldiers were injured. Three coalition soldiers were killed. Eleven insurgent attackers were killed.
- October 2011: Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security said that six people arrested in an alleged plot to assassinate President Karzai had ties to the Haqqani network.
Links with Pakistan[edit | edit source]
Abdul Rashid Waziri, a specialist at Kabul's Center for Regional Studies of Afghanistan, explains that links between the Haqqani network and Pakistan can be traced back to the mid-1970s, before the 1978 Marxist revolution in Kabul. During the rule of President Daoud Khan in Afghanistan (1973–78), Jalaluddin Haqqani went into exile and based himself in and around Miranshah, Pakistan. From there he began to form a rebellion against the government of Daoud Khan in 1975. The network allegedly maintains ties with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and Pakistan's army has been reportedly reluctant to move against them. The ISI spy network had links with the Haqqanis since at least the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They provided CIA funds and assistance to the group during the Afghan resistance. While Pakistan has declared the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as an enemy which engages in attacks against civilians and the state, the Haqqani group refrains from attacking the Pakistani state and thus, has traditionally been considered to be in the Pakistani sphere of what some analysts call the "good" Taliban. According to a July 2011 report published by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center, the network acts as a key facilitator of negotiations between the Pakistani government and the TTP and as the "primary conduit" of many Pakistani Taliban fighters into Afghanistan. The News International also reported in October 2011 that the Haqqanis were urging the TTP to not fight Pakistani forces.
The New York Times reported in September 2008 that Pakistan regards the Haqqani's as an important force for protecting its interests in Afghanistan in the event of American withdrawal from there and therefore have been unwilling to move against them. Pakistan presumably[by whom?] feels pressured that India, Russia, and Iran are gaining a foothold in Afghanistan. Since it lacks the financial clout of these other countries, Pakistan hopes that by being a sanctuary for the Haqqani network, it can assert some influence over its turbulent neighbour. In the words of a retired senior Pakistani official: "[We] have no money. All we have are the crazies. So the crazies it is." The New York Times and Al Jazeera later reported in June 2010 that Pakistan's Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and chief of the ISI General Ahmad Shuja Pasha were in talks with Afghan president Hamid Karzai to broker a power-sharing agreement between the Haqqani network and the Afghan government. Reacting to this report both President Barack Obama and CIA director Leon Panetta responded with skepticism that such an effort could succeed. The effort to mediate between the Haqqanis and the Afghan government was launched by Pakistan after intense pressure by the US to take military action against the group in North Waziristan. Hamid Karzai later denied meeting anyone from the Haqqani network. Subsequently Kayani also denied that he took part in these talks.
In September 2011, Sirajuddin Haqqani claimed during a telephonic interview to Reuters that the Haqqani network no longer maintained sanctuaries in northwest Pakistan and the robust presence that it once had there and instead now felt safer in Afghanistan: "Gone are the days when we were hiding in the mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Now we consider ourselves more secure in Afghanistan besides the Afghan people." According to Haqqani, there were "senior military and police officials" who are aligned with the group and there are even sympathetic and "sincere people in the Afghan government who are loyal to the Taliban" who support the group's aim of liberating Afghanistan "from the clutches of occupying forces." In response to questions from the BBC's Pashto service, Siraj denied any links to the ISI and stated that Mullah Omar is "our leader and we totally obey him."
Strain on Pakistan-US relations[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Pakistan–United States relations
Anti-American groups of Gul Bahadur and Haqqani carry out their activities in Afghanistan and use North Waziristan as rear. The group's links to Pakistan have been a sour point in Pakistan – United States relations. In September 2011, the Obama administration warned Pakistan that it must do more to cut ties with the Haqqani network and help eliminate its leaders, adding that "the United States will act unilaterally if Pakistan does not comply." In testimony before a US Senate panel, Admiral Mike Mullen stated that the network "acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency." Although some U.S. officials allege that the ISI supports and guides the Haqqanis, President Barack Obama declined to endorse that position and stated that "the intelligence is not as clear as we might like in terms of what exactly that relationship is" and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "We have no evidence of" Pakistani involvement in attacks on the US embassy in Kabul.
Pakistan in return rejected the notion that it maintained ties with the Haqqani network or used it in a policy of waging a proxy war in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistani officials deny the allegations by asserting that Pakistan had no relations with the network. In response to the allegations, Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had "trained and produced" the Haqqani network and other mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The Pakistani interior minister also warned that any incursion on Pakistani territory by U.S. forces will not be tolerated. A Pakistani intelligence official insisted that the American allegations are part of "pressure tactics" used by the United States as a strategy "to shift the war theatre." An unnamed Pakistani official was reported to have said after a meeting of the nation's top military officials that "We have already conveyed to the US that Pakistan cannot go beyond what it has already done". However, Pakistani claims were contradicted by the network's warnings against any U.S. military incursions into North Waziristan. However a month after the allegation, ties improved slightly and the US asked Pakistan to assist it in starting negotiation talks with the Taliban.
Efforts against the network[edit | edit source]
Military offensives[edit | edit source]
In July 2008, Jalaluddin's son Omar Haqqani was killed in a firefight with coalition forces in Paktia. In September 2008, Daande Darpkhel airstrike drones fired six missiles at the home of the Haqqanis and a madrasah run by the network. However both Jalaluddin and Sirajuddin were not present though several family members were killed. Among 23 people killed was one of Jalaluddin's two wives, sister, sister-in-law and eight of his grandchildren. In March 2009, the US State Department announced a reward of $5 million for information leading to the location, arrest, or conviction of Sirajuddin under the Rewards for Justice Program. In May 2010, US senator and United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein wrote to United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to add the Haqqani network to U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
ISAF and Afghan forces killed a network leader, Fazil Subhan, plus an unknown number of Haqqani militiamen, in a raid in Khost in the second week of June 2010. In a press release, ISAF reported that Subhan helped facilitate the movement of Al-Qaeda fighters into Afghanistan.
In late July 2011, U.S. and Afghan special forces killed dozens of insurgents during an operation in eastern Paktika province to clear a training camp the Haqqani network used for foreign (Arab and Chechen) fighters; reports of the number killed varied, with one source saying "more than 50" to "nearly 80". Disenfranchised insurgents told security forces where the camp was located, the coalition said.
On 1 October 2011, NATO announced the capture of Haji Mali Khan, "the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan," during an operation in Jani Khel district of Afghanistan's Paktia province. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied that the capture occurred while Haqqani network members declined to respond to the announcement.
According to an unnamed Pakistani official a US drone strike on a compound killed Jamil Haqqani, an "important Afghan commander of Haqqani network" responsible for logisitics in North Waziristan, on 13 October 2011. Three other network fighters were also killed in the two missile blasts. The compound was located in Dandey Darpakhel village, about 7 km (4 miles) north of Miranshah.
In mid-October 2011, Afghan and NATO forces launched "Operation Shamshir" and "Operation Knife Edge" against the Haqqani network in south-eastern Afghanistan, with the intent to counter possible security threats in the border regions. An ISAF spokesman said that Operation Shamshir "was aimed at securing key population centers and expanding the Kabul security zone," while Afghan Defense Minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, explained that Operation Knife Edge would "help eliminate the insurgents before they struck in areas along the troubled frontier." The two operations ended on 23 October 2011 and at least 20 insurgents, of the some 200 killed or captured, had ties to the Haqqani network according to ISAF.
On 2 November 2011, The Express Tribune reported that the Pakistani Army had agreed with the United States to restrict the network's movement along the Afghan border in exchange for America dropping its demands for a full-scale offensive. The report emerged soon after a visit by Hillary Clinton to Pakistan.
Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, has said that Haqqani can be defeated through a combination of a layered defense in Afghanistan and interdiction against the sanctuaries in Pakistan.
Sanctions[edit | edit source]
Until 1 November 2011, six Haqqani Network commanders were designated as terrorists under Executive Order 13224 since 2008 and their assets were frozen while prohibiting others from engaging in financial transactions with them:
- In March 2008, the US State Department designated Sirajuddin Haqqani a terrorist and a year later issued a $5 million bounty for information leading to his capture.
- The State Department placed Nasiruddin Haqqani on its list of terrorists in July 2010.
- In February 2011, Khalil al Rahman Haqqani was designated a terrorist by the US State Department.
- In an effort to stop the flow of funds to the network, the US State Department announced on August 16, 2011 measures against Sangeen Zadran as "Shadow Governor for Paktika Province, Afghanistan and a commander of the Haqqani Network." The US designated Zadran under Executive Order 13224 while the United Nations listed him under Security Council Resolution 1988.
- The U.S. Department of Treasury added Abdul Aziz Abbasin, "a key commander in the Haqqani Network", to the list of individuals on the executive order in September 2011.
- On 1 November 2011, Haji Mali Khan, who was already in ISAF custody, was added to the list.
In September 2011, the US Senate Appropriations Committee voted to make a $1 billion counter-insurgency aid package to the Pakistani military conditional upon Pakistani action against militant groups, including the Haqqani network. The decision would still need to receive approval from the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. According to the press release, "[t]he bill includes strengthened restrictions on assistance for Pakistan by conditioning all funds to the Government of Pakistan on cooperation against the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations, with a waiver, and funding based on achieving benchmarks."
On 7 September 2012, the Obama administration blacklisted the group as a foreign terrorist organization. The decision was mandated by Congress and was a source of debate within the administration.
Attempts to negotiate[edit | edit source]
US officials confirmed that they held preliminary talks during the summer of 2011 with representatives of the militant network at the request of the ISI. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the US had reached out to the Haqqanis to gauge their willingness to engage in a peace process and that "Pakistani government officials helped to facilitate such a meeting." The New York Times reported that talks secretly began in late August 2011 in the United Arab Emirates between a midlevel American diplomat and Ibrahim Haqqani, Jalalludin's brother. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, head of the ISI, brokered the discussion, but little resulted from the meeting.
References[edit | edit source]
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See also[edit | edit source]
- Drone attacks in Pakistan
- Hafiz Gul Bahadur
- International Security Assistance Force
- War in North-West Pakistan
- War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
[edit | edit source]
- Haqqani Network, GlobalSecurity.org
- Haqqani Network, Institute for the Study of War
- Sirajuddin Haqqani, Rewards for Justice Program
- Haqqanis: Growth of a militant network, BBC News, 14 September 2011
- Q&A: Who are the Haqqanis?, Reuters
- Haqqani network collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Haqqani Network Financing: The Evolution of an Industry - The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, July 2012