Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani

Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani is an internationally designated Taliban official and senior leader within the Haqqani network. As a senior member of the Haqqani network, Haqqani coordinated fundraising activities for the Taliban and provided operational support to the group in Afghanistan.“Wanted Information that brings to justice…Khalil Haqqani Up to $5 Million Reward,” Rewards for Justice, https://rewardsforjustice.net/english/khalil_haqqani.html. The Haqqani network is considered the Taliban’s most radical and violent branch, but has operated independently from the broader Taliban.Sune Engel Rasmussen and Nancy A. Youssef, “In Taliban-Ruled Afghanistan, Al Qaeda-Linked Haqqani Network Rises to Power,” Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-taliban-ruled-afghanistan-al-qaeda-linked-haqqani-network-rises-to-power-11629990056. Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan’s government on August 15, 2021, Haqqani appointed himself as the chief of security of the Taliban government.Jack Newman, “One of America's most-wanted terrorists on the streets of Kabul: Taliban fundraiser Khalil Haqqani - who has a $5m bounty on his head for his links to Al Qaeda - greets adoring crowds in Kabul,” Daily Mail, August 20, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9912609/Taliban-fundraiser-Khalil-Haqqani-wanted-links-Al-Qaeda-greets-crowds-Kabul.html. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Haqqani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on February 9, 2011.“Treasury Targets the Financial And Support Networks of Al Qa’ida and the Taliban, Haqqani Network Leadership,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, February 9, 2011, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1055.aspx. On September 7, 2021, Haqqani was named the acting minister for refugees of the Taliban government.Douglas Schorzman, “Who Are the Taliban’s New Government Leaders? Here’s What We Know,” New York Times, September 7, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/article/taliban-leaders-afghanistan.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article.

The Haqqani network maintains close ties with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The network has been accused of orchestrating numerous cross-border attacks from its home base in North Waziristan, Pakistan. Among those attacks include the September 2011 siege at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the 2008 Serena Hotel attack in which seven were killed, and the 2017 truck bombing near the German embassy which killed 96.“US offers new bounties for Haqqani network members,” Associated Press, August 20, 2014, https://apnews.com/article/aa640fb0516d4d8b9b1eb79a4dce8b2e; Jack Newman, “One of America's most-wanted terrorists on the streets of Kabul: Taliban fundraiser Khalil Haqqani - who has a $5m bounty on his head for his links to Al Qaeda - greets adoring crowds in Kabul,” Daily Mail, August 20, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9912609/Taliban-fundraiser-Khalil-Haqqani-wanted-links-Al-Qaeda-greets-crowds-Kabul.html; Declan Walsh, “Seven killed as Taliban militants storm luxury hotel in Kabul,” Guardian, January 15, 2008, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jan/15/afghanistan.pressandpublishing.

Haqqani is the brother of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who founded the Haqqani network in the 1970s, and is the uncle of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the deputy leader of the Taliban.Jack Newman, “One of America's most-wanted terrorists on the streets of Kabul: Taliban fundraiser Khalil Haqqani - who has a $5m bounty on his head for his links to Al Qaeda - greets adoring crowds in Kabul,” Daily Mail, August 20, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9912609/Taliban-fundraiser-Khalil-Haqqani-wanted-links-Al-Qaeda-greets-crowds-Kabul.html. Following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Haqqani family ran an operation that actively targeted U.S. war efforts. The Haqqani network is also suspected of aiding in Osama bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora in 2001.“Khalil Haqqani, long on America’s terrorist list, is welcomed by cheering crowds in Kabul,” New York Times, August 20, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/08/20/world/biden-afghanistan-taliban/khalil-haqqani-long-on-americas-terrorist-list-is-welcomed-by-cheering-crowds-in-kabul. The network became known for its use of suicide bombers and its ability to carry out sophisticated, high-casualty attacks on major targets including military installations and embassies.“Khalil Haqqani, long on America’s terrorist list, is welcomed by cheering crowds in Kabul,” New York Times, August 20, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/08/20/world/biden-afghanistan-taliban/khalil-haqqani-long-on-americas-terrorist-list-is-welcomed-by-cheering-crowds-in-kabul; “The Haqqani network: Afghanistan's most feared militants,” France 24, August 21, 2021, https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210821-the-haqqani-network-afghanistan-s-most-feared-militants.

Haqqani served as the chief of operations for the Haqqani network and engaged in fundraising activities on behalf of the Taliban, helping to develop a complex international fundraising network. Haqqani’s key responsibilities were to operate front companies, such as construction firms and transport companies, that would support and fund the group’s operations in Pakistan.Gretchen Peters, “Haqqani Network Financing: The Evolution of an Industry,” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, July 2012, https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/CTC_Haqqani_Network_Financing-Report__Final.pdf. As chief of operations, Haqqani approved suicide bombings against U.S. forces.Ken Dilanian, “New Taliban head of security for Kabul is wanted by U.S. as terrorist,” NBC News, August 26, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/new-taliban-head-security-kabul-wanted-u-s-terrorist-n1277700. Additionally, Haqqani was the senior emissary to al-Qaeda’s leadership—where he was linked to the group’s military operations—and also served as a senior member who liaised with Pakistani intelligence.Ken Dilanian, “New Taliban head of security for Kabul is wanted by U.S. as terrorist,” NBC News, August 26, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/new-taliban-head-security-kabul-wanted-u-s-terrorist-n1277700; Jack Newman, “One of America's most-wanted terrorists on the streets of Kabul: Taliban fundraiser Khalil Haqqani - who has a $5m bounty on his head for his links to Al Qaeda - greets adoring crowds in Kabul,” Daily Mail, August 20, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9912609/Taliban-fundraiser-Khalil-Haqqani-wanted-links-Al-Qaeda-greets-crowds-Kabul.html. In 2002, Haqqani deployed men to reinforce al-Qaeda elements in Paktia Province, Afghanistan.“Treasury Targets the Financial And Support Networks of Al Qa’ida and the Taliban, Haqqani Network Leadership,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, February 9, 2011, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1055.aspx.

In 2009, Haqqani served as a military commander in the Haqqani network where he oversaw more than 160 combatants and was one of several people responsible for the detention of enemy prisoners captured by the Taliban and the Haqqani network.“Treasury Targets the Financial And Support Networks of Al Qa’ida and the Taliban, Haqqani Network Leadership,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, February 9, 2011, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1055.aspx. By 2009, Haqqani had traveled to raised funds from sources in the Gulf states as well as South and East Asia.“KHALIL AHMED HAQQANI,” United Nations Security Council, February 9, 2011, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/khalil-ahmed-haqqani. In 2010, Haqqani provided funds to Taliban cells in Logar Province, Afghanistan.Jack Newman, “One of America's most-wanted terrorists on the streets of Kabul: Taliban fundraiser Khalil Haqqani - who has a $5m bounty on his head for his links to Al Qaeda - greets adoring crowds in Kabul,” Daily Mail, August 20, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9912609/Taliban-fundraiser-Khalil-Haqqani-wanted-links-Al-Qaeda-greets-crowds-Kabul.html.

Given Haqqani’s senior role within the Haqqani network, and his support to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, on February 9, 2011, the U.N. Security Council sanctioned Haqqani, with the U.S. Department of Treasury also designating Haqqani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) the same day.“KHALIL AHMED HAQQANI,” United Nations Security Council, February 9, 2011, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/khalil-ahmed-haqqani; “Treasury Targets the Financial And Support Networks of Al Qa’ida and the Taliban, Haqqani Network Leadership,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, February 9, 2011, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1055.aspx. Haqqani remained a continued threat to U.S. operations and on August 20, 2014, the U.S. State Department’s Rewards for Justice program announced a bounty of up to $5 million for information leading to the location of Haqqani.“US offers new bounties for Haqqani network members,” Associated Press, August 20, 2014, https://apnews.com/article/aa640fb0516d4d8b9b1eb79a4dce8b2e.

Following the Taliban’s takeover of the Afghan government on August 15, 2021, on August 20, Haqqani landed in Kabul where he was placed in charge of security for the capital city.Jack Newman, “One of America's most-wanted terrorists on the streets of Kabul: Taliban fundraiser Khalil Haqqani - who has a $5m bounty on his head for his links to Al Qaeda - greets adoring crowds in Kabul,” Daily Mail, August 20, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9912609/Taliban-fundraiser-Khalil-Haqqani-wanted-links-Al-Qaeda-greets-crowds-Kabul.html; Ali M Latifi, “‘All Afghans’ should feel safe under Taliban, says security chief,” Al Jazeera, August 22, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/22/all-afghans-should-feel-safe-under-taliban-says-security-chief. Haqqani is allegedly set to serve as the chief of security for the Taliban’s new government.Ken Dilanian, “New Taliban head of security for Kabul is wanted by U.S. as terrorist,” NBC News, August 26, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/new-taliban-head-security-kabul-wanted-u-s-terrorist-n1277700; Jack Newman, “One of America's most-wanted terrorists on the streets of Kabul: Taliban fundraiser Khalil Haqqani - who has a $5m bounty on his head for his links to Al Qaeda - greets adoring crowds in Kabul,” Daily Mail, August 20, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9912609/Taliban-fundraiser-Khalil-Haqqani-wanted-links-Al-Qaeda-greets-crowds-Kabul.html. Upon his arrival in Kabul, Haqqani delivered remarks at the Pul-i-Khishti Mosque, where he announced, “our first priority for Afghanistan is security…We will give security, then we will give economy, trade, education for men and women. There will be no discrimination.” Additionally, Haqqani told media sources that he had been consulting with Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council, and former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.“Khalil Haqqani, long on America’s terrorist list, is welcomed by cheering crowds in Kabul,” New York Times, August 20, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/08/20/world/biden-afghanistan-taliban/khalil-haqqani-long-on-americas-terrorist-list-is-welcomed-by-cheering-crowds-in-kabul.

On September 7, 2021, the Taliban announced the official appointments within their caretaker government. Haqqani was named minister for refugees. The government is exclusively male, with many positions filled with veterans from their hardline movement in the early nineties.Matthieu Aikins and Jim Huylebroek, “Taliban Appoint Stalwarts to Top Government Posts,” New York Times, September 7, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/world/asia/taliban-women-protest-kabul-afghanistan.html; Kathy Gannon, “Taliban form all-male Afghan government of old guard members,” Associated Press, September 8, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-pakistan-afghanistan-arrests-islamabad-d50b1b490d27d32eb20cc11b77c12c87; Douglas Schorzman, “Who Are the Taliban’s New Government Leaders? Here’s What We Know,” New York Times, September 7, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/article/taliban-leaders-afghanistan.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article.

United States

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on February 9, 2011.“Treasury Targets the Financial And Support Networks of Al Qa’ida and the Taliban, Haqqani Network Leadership,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, February 9, 2011, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1055.aspx.

United Nations

The U.N. Security Council sanctioned Khalil Ahmed Haqqani on February 9, 2011.“KHALIL AHMED HAQQANI,” United Nations Security Council, February 9, 2011, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/khalil-ahmed-haqqani.

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