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Haqqani Network - Background

In the 1980s Jalaluddin Haqqani fought as a mujahedin leader against Soviet forces, receiving substantial assistance from the CIA by way of Pakistan's ISI. His power was enhanced by hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military aid provided by the ISI and CIA. Jalaluddin Haqqani was one of ten mujahideen commanders who, during the anti-Soviet war, received assistance directly from the CIA rather than via Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

The Haqqani network, whose origins lay in the anti-Soviet resistance, supported the construction of training and operational facilities in Eastern Afghanistan for the mujahedeen that were later used by al-Qaeda. In 1995 the network was recruited by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to support the Taliban and its fight to establish an Islamic fundamentalist regime. As a result of this longstanding relationship, the ISI continues to view the Haqqani network as its most reliable regional proxy.

Jalaluddin Haqqani was one of Hekmatyar's most effective former commanders. Osama bin Laden was recruited by Haqqani as a foreign fighter in Afghanistan, where he received training to battle the Soviets. Jalaluddin Haqqani later joined the Taliban and became its minister for tribal affairs. Though he had joined the Taliban, he joined the government as a Minister but retained a separate power base in his home Zadran district and tribe, east of Kabul.

The Haqqani network developed of pragmatic relationships with other organizations with different, sometimes conflicting objectives. For example, al-Qaeda, the Tehrik-e-Taliban (Pakistani Taliban) and elements of the ISI, while battling each other, all work with the Haqqani network. Attempts by the United States to reach an agreement with the network further complicated matters. Nevertheless, the Haqqani network cooperated with each one, gradually expanding its influence and power as it worked to become a player among global terrorist organizations.

Haqqani, operated along the Pakistan border and had close ties to Arab fighters (who would later form al-Qaeda) and powerful weapons smuggling networks. Former US officials and mujahideen say that commanders such as Hecmatyar, Khalis, and Haqqani did not personally muddy their hands by moving drugs. They had subordinates who ran their narcotics operations but took a cut of all the profits in their control zones.

By 2008 anti-government forces were multifaceted, and consisted not only of Taliban loyalists but also of various jihadists - Gulbeddin Hekmatyar's faction of Hizb-i-Islami in the east and Jalaluddin Haqqani's group in North Waziristan (among others). These groups had distinct goals, and their collaboration was less alliance than marriage of convenience. It was at times difficult at a distance to attribute and disaggregate the actions of each, and "Taliban" functions as a flawed shorthand. The Haqqani network is closely associated with the Taliban and one of its strongest factions. Reportedly, the network is also particularly closely linked to al Qaeda.

Popular with Middle Eastern private backers, Jalaluddin Haqqani in the past had been eagerly courted by the Karzai government with offers of government positions. The important Taliban "Peshawar Shura" is headquartered in Pakistan's North West Frontier province. The militias headed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani were fighting US forces alongside the Taliban. Hekmatyar operates in the tribal areas of Dir and Bajur, while Jalaluddin Haqqani is based in Waziristan. Sirajuddin Haqqani operated in Ghazni, Kunar, Paktia, Paktika and Khost area.




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