Taliban Govt | Who Are the Haqqani Network? Members, History and Sanctions
Sirajuddin Haqqani has been named interior minister. He features in the FBI's most wanted list for terrorism.
The controversial Haqqani Network has carved itself an immensely consequential position in the new Taliban government. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of anti-Soviet warlord and founder of Haqqani Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani, has been named interior minister. Sirajuddin features in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s most wanted list for terrorism.
Three other members of the family too have got themselves meaty berths in the Taliban cabinet, despite featuring in various anti-terror lists or purported links with terror groups.
Sirajuddin Haqqani – Interior Minister
"Sirajuddin Haqqani is wanted for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed six people, including an American citizen. He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Haqqani also allegedly was involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008."
"SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS" reads the FBI website in bold and uppercase letters.
The US Department of State, through its Rewards for Justice Program, has offered a reward of up to $10 million for information leading directly to the arrest of Sirajuddin Haqqani. He is a United Nations(UN)-designated global terrorist.
Born to Jaluluddin Haqqani and his wife, who reportedly hailed from the United Arab Emirates, Sirajuddin spent his childhood in Miramshah, North Waziristan in Pakistan.
The UN listing alleges that Sirajuddin “participated in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of Taliban, al-Qaeda, and Jaish-i-Mohammed", and describes him as "one of the most prominent, influential, charismatic and experienced leaders within the Haqqani Network."
He has been one of the major operational commanders of the network since 2004.
Khalil-Ur-Rehman Haqqani – Minister of Refugees
Khalil-Ur-Rehman Haqqani is the uncle of Sirajuddin. Following Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, he reportedly said that all Afghans should feel safe under the Taliban.
As per the Rewards for Justice website, the US Department of the Treasury designated Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 on 9 February 2011.
He is believed to be one of the several people responsible for the detention of prisoners captured by the Taliban and the Haqqani Network.
He is said to have, in 2002, deployed men to reinforce Al-Qaeda elements in Paktia Province, Afghanistan.
Najibullah Haqqani Hidayatullah – Minister for Communication
Najibullah Haqqani features in the United Nation’s (1988) sanctions list, as well as the Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the United Kingdom.
In the previous Taliban regime (prior to the US takeover), Najibullah first served as the deputy minister for public works, and later as the deputy minister for finance.
As per media reports, Najibullah was militarily active till 2010.
Sheikh Abdul Baqi Haqqani – Minister for Higher Education
Unlike the other three new ministers of the Taliban government, who are also part of the Haqqani Network, Sheikh Abdul Baqui Hakkani, is not designated by the UN Security Council.
However, he has been sanctioned by the European Union for his administrative role in the Islamic Emirate, for "anti-government military activities" in 2003, and for "organising militant activities" in 2009.
Previously, when Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, Abdul Baqi held positions as governor of Khost and Paktika provinces and vice minister of Information and Culture. He also worked in the consulate department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
More About the Haqqani Network
Following the United States' takeover of Afghanistan in 2001, the Haqqani family fled to Pakistan, and are believed to have taken shelter in Miramshah in North Waziristan.
There, as reported by The Indian Express, they are said to have run a parallel administration, taxing people and making money off construction contracts and real estate investments.
Other sources of income, however, included fundraising in the Gulf, kidnapping for ransom and smuggling timber from Afghanistan into Pakistan.
Meanwhile, some links also appear to tie Haqqani Network with Al-Qaeda, as well as the ISIS, with a UN report saying:
“The Haqqani Network remains a hub for outreach and cooperation with regional foreign terrorist groups and is the primary liaison between the Taliban and Al-Qaida”.
A report by the Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Committee has also noted that one member state had pointes a link between the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-KP) and the Haqqani Network. The committee, however, has been unable to confirm this.
The United States had often reportedly urged Pakistan to “do more” to eliminate them and military observes have credited much of the Taliban's success to the Haqqani Network.
The US and Afghanistan intelligence had pinned the blame for the 2008 Indian embassy bombing on the Haqqani Network.
The Haqqani Network is also said to have been connected with the attacks on Indian construction workers in Afghanistan in the years spanning 2009 to 2012.
(With inputs from New York Times, The Indian Express and the FBI, UNSC and UK government websites.)
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