Haqqani network

Create: 05/23/2015 - 14:45

Kabul (Pajhwok): Active in areas along the Durand Line, the Haqqani network is a mighty insurgent group employing asymmetric warfare against US and NATO forces, as well as the government of Afghanistan. Having close ideological links with the Taliban, the group is headed by Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani -- a noted jihadi leader -- and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Jalaluddin Haqqani, who reportedlypioneered suicide bombings and implanting of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan, is the second most influential figure behind Mullah Omar in the Taliban movement. The resourceful network’s technological expertise is remarkable.
Believed to be operating on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the militant outfit is allegedly based in North Waziristan tribal region. The Haqqani network, also allied with Al-Qaeda, conducts operations in Afghanistan’s border areas, particularly in southeastern Paktia, Paktika and Khost provinces.
Born in 1939 in Paktia, Haqqani belongs to the Pashtun tribe of Zadran. He came to prominence as a senior military leader during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He is said to have maintained close relationships with CIA, ISI and wealthy Arab donors during the jihad era.
During the Daud Khan government, like other jihadi leaders, he moved to Pakistan. After an uprising by jihadists against Daud Khan, he returned to command Maulvi Younas Khalis loyalists against the Soviet occupation troops. During the Dr. Najibullah presidency, the mujahidin managed to capture Khost City in 1992.
Jalaluddin came to be acknowledged as a skilled military commander in the fight against the Soviets by heading his own forces and coordinating with other tribal volunteers. He and his supporters received US weapons and fundsand American officials regularly praised Jalauddin for his skills in fighting the Soviets.
Throughout the 1980s, he played an important role in the growth of Al-Qaeda and supported Osama bin Laden to construct a cave complex to train mujahidin. United against the Soviet occupation, Al Qaeda and Haqqani Network continued to grow in size and power.
In the 1980s, Haqqani was among the jihadi leaders whom ex-US president Ronald Reagan invited to the White House. With support from America and Pakistan, his faction was imposed along with Taliban and others on Afghanistan in the mid-1990s.
Following the collapse of the Najibullah government in 1993, he was briefly made minister of justice during the mujahidin government. Haqqani pledged allegiance to the Taliban in 1996when they captured Kabul. He was offered a cabinet position as minister of tribal affairs, a position he held from 1996 through 2001.
After the US invasion of Afghanistan, Haqqani started fighting against NATO forces and the government of Afghanistan. American and Afghan officials allege the network plans and executes attacks on targets inside Afghanistan from its sanctuary in Waziristan, They have repeatedly asked Pakistan to cut ties with the group.
According to US intelligence operatives, the rebel organisation raises significant portions of its revenue from criminal enterprises such as the illegal sale of chromite and the smuggling of timber, precious jewels and metals. It is also accused of kidnappings and extortion.
Additionally, the Taliban and Al Qaeda are said to be significant sources of financial and military support to the network in terms of recruits, weapons, trainingand finances. In the 1980s, it also enjoyed a close relationship with Saudi intelligence organisations until the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.
From 1980 to 1992, Jalaluddin Haqqani commanded the mujahidin and he also hired foreign fighters. Both Abdullah Azzam and Osama bin Ladenreportedly began their careers as volunteers for the Haqqani network and trained to fight the Soviets.