Sirajuddin Haqqani is an internationally designated Taliban official who not only served as operational commander of the Haqqani network, but also held the role of deputy emir of the Taliban. After the death of Mullah Omar was reported in July 2015, Sirajuddin Haqqani was elevated to the second spot in the Taliban leadership under its new emir, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. “Taliban confirms death of Mullah Omar, names new leader,” France 24, July 30, 2015, http://www.france24.com/en/20150730-taliban-confrms-death-omar-names-new-leaderafghanistan- mansour. On September 7, 2021, Haqqani was appointed interior minister of the Taliban government.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.
Sirajuddin Haqqani’s father Jalaluddin Haqqani founded the Haqqani network in the 1970s. The group gained momentum during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Jeffrey A. Dressler, “The Haqqani Network: From Pakistan to Afghanistan,” Institute for the Study of War, October 2010, http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Haqqani_Network_0.pdf; “The Haqqani Nexus and the Evolution of al-Qa’ida,” The Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, July 14, 2011, https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/CTC-Haqqani-Report_Rassler-Brown-Final_Web.pdf. The Haqqanis are of the Pashtun Zadran tribe, based predominantly in the Paktia and Khost provinces in eastern Afghanistan. Jeffrey A. Dressler, “The Haqqani Network: From Pakistan to Afghanistan,” Institute for the Study of War, October 2010, http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Haqqani_Network_0.pdf.
Sirajuddin is wanted by the U.S. State Department and the FBI “Seeking Information Sirajuddin Haqqani,” Federal Bureau of Investigation, accessed on March 12, 2015, http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/terrorinfo/sirajuddin-haqqani/view. for planning a 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul that killed six people including American citizen Thor David Hesla. “Wanted: Information That Brings to Justice Sirajuddin Haqqani,” Reward for Justice, U.S. Department of State, accessed March 12, 2015, http://www.rewardsforjustice.net/english/sirajuddin_haqqani.html. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Sirajuddin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 on March 11, 2008. Bureau of Counterterrorism, “Individuals and Entities Designated by the State Department Under E.O. 13224,” U.S. Department of State, http://go.usa.gov/3qkES.
A June 2021 report by a U.N. monitoring team stated that the Taliban and al-Qaeda remain closely aligned and show no indication of breaking ties.“Letter Dated 20 May 2021 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee Established Pursuant to Resolution 1988 (2011) Addressed to the President of the Security Council,” U.N. Security Council, June 1, 2021, https://www.undocs.org/pdf?symbol=en/S/2021/486. The report also claimed that Sirajuddin, is also a member of al-Qaeda’s leadership.Thomas Joscelyn, “U.N. Report Cites New Intelligence on Haqqanis’ Close Ties to al Qaeda,” FDD’s Long War Journal, June 7, 2021, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2021/06/u-n-report-cites-new-intelligence-on-haqqanis-close-ties-to-al-qaeda.php.
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. 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/. A month after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, on September 7, 2021, the Taliban announced the official appointments within their caretaker government. Haqqani was named acting minister of the interior. Haqqani’s role will provide him with extensive authority over policing and legal matters. 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.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Sirajuddin Haqqani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 on March 11, 2008.Bureau of Counterterrorism, “Individuals and Entities Designated by the State Department Under E.O. 13224,” U.S. Department of State, http://go.usa.gov/3qkES.
The U.S. State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program is offering reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Sirajuddin Haqqani’s arrest. Gordon Duguid, “Rewards for Justice: Sirajuddin Haqqani,” U.S. Department of State Press Statement, March 25, 2009, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/03/120864.htm.
The United Nations Security Council Committee listed Sirajuddin “Jallaloudine” Haqqani pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011) on September 13, 2007. “Narrative Summaries of Reasons for Listing: TE.H.12.12. Haqqani Network,” Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011), November 5, 2012, http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1988/NSTE01212E.shtml.