Najibullah Haqqani Hidayatullah

Najibullah Haqqani Hidayatullah, better known as Najibullah Haqqani, is a U.N.-sanctioned Taliban senior leader who served as deputy minister of finance under the first Taliban regime in the 1990s until 2001.“Security Council 1988 Committee Amends 105 Entries on Its Sanctions List,” United Nations, November 29, 2011, https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10465.doc.htm. Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, Haqqani was named minister of communications of the Taliban government.“Taliban forms 33-member cabinet in Afghanistan: Full list,” Hindustan Times, September 8, 2021, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/taliban-forms-33-member-cabinet-in-afghanistan-full-list-101631066722518.html.

Given Haqqani’s prominent role within the Taliban, the United Nations Security Council sanctioned Haqqani on February 23, 2001, and the U.K. Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation sanctioned Haqqani on April 2, 2001.“Security Council 1988 Committee Amends 105 Entries on Its Sanctions List,” United Nations, November 29, 2011, https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10465.doc.htm; “CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK,” Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM Treasury, February 1, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957420/afghanistan.pdf.

Haqqani went on to become a member of the Taliban Council in the Kunar Province in 2007, and in June 2008 was appointed the primary Taliban official responsible for military activity in Kunar.“NAJIBULLAH HAQQANI HIDAYATULLAH,” United Nations Security Council, June 1, 2010, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/najibullah-haqqani-hidayatullah. By late 2010, Haqqani was reported to be the Taliban member responsible for Laghman province.“NAJIBULLAH HAQQANI HIDAYATULLAH,” United Nations Security Council, June 1, 2010, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/najibullah-haqqani-hidayatullah.

On August 6, 2021, the Taliban began an offensive against major Afghan cities with the seizure of Zaranj, capital of Nimruz province.Susannah George and Ezzatullah Mehrdad, “Taliban fighters overrun an Afghan provincial capital for the first time since withdrawal of foreign forces,” Washington Post, August 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/06/afghanistan-taliban-nimruz/. By August 13, the Taliban controlled 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and more than two-thirds of the country.Rahim Faiez, and Joseph Krauss, “Taliban sweep across Afghanistan’s south; take 4 more cities,” Associated Press, August 13, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-taliban-c6c8d4a41c554f36031a8131538d1402. On August 15, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan and thousands of Afghans poured into Kabul’s airport as Taliban fighters entered the city. By August 16, the Taliban laid siege to the presidential palace and took complete control of Kabul, after which the Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan had ended.“Taliban declares ‘war is over’ as president and diplomats flee Kabul,” Reuters, August 15, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/talibans-rapid-advance-across-afghanistan-2021-08-10/. The Taliban has claimed that it would take on a more “moderate” approach in their ruling of the country, and that women are allowed to have roles in public life in observance of “Islamic law.”“Factbox: Taliban seek to present a moderate face as they take control in Afghanistan,” Reuters, August 15, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/taliban-seek-present-moderate-face-they-take-control-afghanistan-2021-08-15/.

On September 7, 2021, the Taliban announced the official appointments within their caretaker government. Haqqani was appointed minister of communications of the Taliban government.“Taliban forms 33-member cabinet in Afghanistan: Full list,” Hindustan Times, September 8, 2021, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/taliban-forms-33-member-cabinet-in-afghanistan-full-list-101631066722518.html. 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.

United Nations

The United Nations sanctioned Najibullah Haqqani Hidayatullah as an individual associated with the Taliban on February 23, 2001.“Security Council 1988 Committee Amends 105 Entries on Its Sanctions List,” United Nations, November 29, 2011, https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10465.doc.htm.

United Kingdom

The U.K. Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation sanctioned Najibullah Haqqani Hidayatullah on April 2, 2001.“CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK,” Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM Treasury, February 1, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957420/afghanistan.pdf.

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