For immediate release | Tuesday, September 1, 2015

CEP Releases New Resources on the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan and Pakistan

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(New York, NY)The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) is releasing new resources on violent Islamist group the Haqqani network and its leaders, identified by U.S. officials as being responsible for recent bombings and attacks in the Afghan capital.

The Haqqani network is a militant Islamist group operating in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Haqqani network is often considered a branch of the Afghan Taliban, but operates independently and has a more diffuse command structure. The Haqqani network formed in the 1970s but rose to prominence fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, leader Jalaluddin Haqqani formed an alliance with the Taliban and supported the growth of al-Qaeda. When the Taliban violently took control of Afghanistan in 1996, the group appointed Haqqani as minister of tribal affairs. Since the Taliban regime’s overthrow in 2001, the Haqqani network has continued as a lethal and sophisticated part of the Afghan insurgency against the Western-backed government in Kabul. The Haqqani network’s base of operations is in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Many U.S. and Afghan officials have repeatedly criticized Pakistan for not taking action against the Haqqani network. The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, once called the Haqqani network the “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). 

Jalaluddin Haqqani founded the Haqqani network, which is dedicated to expelling all Western influence from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Jalaluddin Haqqani has waged insurgency warfare for many years. In 1976, Haqqani began to train Islamist militants in North Waziristan, Pakistan, with the goal of ousting the then president of Afghanistan. He then commanded his troops in the fight against the Soviet invasion and received considerable military assistance from the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Haqqani reportedly introduced suicide bombing as a mainstream tactic against the Red Army. In July 2015, a senior member of the Haqqani network claimed that Jalaluddin Haqqani had been dead for more than a year. Neither U.S. intelligence nor the Taliban has confirmed his death.

Sirajuddin Haqqani is the operational commander of the Haqqani network. He was reportedly elevated to the position of deputy emir of the Taliban, by its new emir, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, following the death of Mullah Omar. Sirajuddin is wanted by the U.S. State Department and the FBI for planning a 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including American citizen Thor David Hesla. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Sirajuddin as a Specially Designated Terrorist in March 11, 2008. On August 25, 2015, Treasury also designated Sirajuddin’s brother, Abdul Aziz Haqqani, as a specially designated global terrorist under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to acts of terrorism.

Explore the history, ideology and leadership of the Haqqani network, its leaders Jalaluddin and Sirajuddin Haqqani, and many other extremist groups, leaders, propagandists and terror financiers at counterextremism.com.