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Haqqani Network - Leading Personalities

Nasiruddin Haqqani was gunned down outside a ramshackle bakery in Islamabad on 10 November 2013. The killing of one of Pakistan's long-time Afghan jihadist allies prompted much speculation about who might have been behind the brazen assassination of one of the top leaders of the Haqqani Network. Nasiruddin might have been the victim of a tribal feud within the large Zadran tribe, whose homeland in the southeastern Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia, and Paktika is the key theater for Haqqani Network operations. Zadran tribe members had previously broken ties with the Haqqanis because of their association with Pakistan. In addition, Haqqani fighters have targeted tribal leaders and terrorized villagers. The tribe observes an ancient tradition of reprisal killings in family or clan disputes that can last for generations.

The Pakistani Taliban was another group that might have been behind Nasiruddin's murder. Slain Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud had turned against the Haqqanis because of their long-standing alliance with Pakistan's powerful military establishment. Days before his death, Hakimullah Mehsud had vowed to take on the Haqqanis and Asamatullah Muawiya, leader of a Pakistani Taliban faction sheltering with the Haqqanis in their North Waziristan stronghold. Mehsud had publicly chided the Haqqanis for their alleged ties with Pakistani intelligence services.

Aziz Haqqani is Sirajuddins brother and is involved in logistical operations and command decisions involving cross-border attacks on ISAF and Afghan forces. He also plays a key role in HQNs operations in Kabul and in major attacks throughout Afghanistan.

Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, Sirajuddins uncle, is a senior HQN member who has raised funds for the Taliban and who has been linked to al-Qaida terrorist operations. He also has overseen the detention of hostages captured by HQN and Taliban fighters. The Department of the Treasury designated him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on February 9, 2011.

Yahya Haqqani, Sirajuddins brother-in-law, has been closely involved in the groups operational, financial, and propaganda activities, and has served as de-facto leader when other senior-most HQN leaders were absent. He has delivered funds to HQN commanders and al-Qaida members. He has also served as HQNs primary liaison with foreign terrorists fighting in the region. The Department of the Treasury designated him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on February 5, 2014.

Yahya Haqqani (Yahya) is a senior Haqqani Network member who has been closely involved in the groups military, financial, and propaganda activities. Yahya has acted as de facto head of the group when senior-most leaders Sirajuddin Haqqani (Yahyas brother-in-law), Badruddin Haqqani (deceased), and Khalil Haqqani were absent. Yahya has also assumed duties as a HQN logistician and has facilitated funding for Haqqani commanders including a subordinate of now-deceased HQN commander Sangin Zadran and HQN chief of suicide operations, Abdul Rauf Zakir. Yahya has also acted as Sirajuddin Haqqanis Arabic interpreter and messenger.

Yahya has conducted significant facilitation activities in support of HQN attacks and other activities. In early 2013 he facilitated funding for HQN fighters. Also in early 2013, Yahya coordinated the transfer of supplies from the United Arab Emirates to HQN senior leader Khalil Haqqani. In 2012, Yahya coordinated the distribution of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and communications equipment, and he also reviewed preparations for the August 7, 2012 HQN attack against a Coalition Forward Operating Base in Logar Province, Afghanistan, in which thirteen people, including eleven Afghan civilians, were wounded. Yahya likely had advance knowledge of the June 2011 attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, directed by Sirajuddin Haqqani and Badruddin Haqqani. Eighteen people were killed and twelve were injured in the attack. As of 2011, Yahya delivered money from Sirajuddin Haqqani to HQN commanders for operations.

Yahya sometimes serves as a liaison between the HQN and AQ and he has maintained ties with AQ since at least mid-2009. In this role, Yahya has provided money to AQ members in the region for their personal expenses. As of mid-2009, he acted as the HQNs primary liaison with foreign fighters, including Arabs, Uzbeks, and Chechens.

Yahya has also conducted and managed HQN and Taliban media and propaganda activities. As of early 2012, Yahya usually met with Sirajuddin Haqqani to obtain final approval of the Taliban propaganda videos Yahya made. Yahya has worked on HQN media activities since at least 2009 when he edited videos from fighters in Afghanistan working out of a media studio in a HQN madrassa. As of late 2011, Yahya obtained money for HQN media expenses from Sirajuddin Haqqani or one of Sirajuddin Haqqanis surrogates.

As of early 2012, Yahya travelled about twice a month, sometimes with Saidullah Jan, to meet with now-deceased HQN financial emissary Nasiruddin Haqqani in Pakistan. Sirajuddin Haqqani was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 on March 11, 2008, Badruddin Haqqani on May 11, 2011, Sangin Zadran on August 16, 2011, and Abdul Rauf Zakir on November 5, 2012.

Abdul Rauf Zakir is HQNs chief of suicide operations and its operational commander for Kabul Province and the northern provinces of Takhar, Kunduz, and Baghlan. He also oversees HQNs weapons training program, whose trainees killed 16 Afghans, including six children, in the September 2011 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The Department of State designated him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 on November 5, 2012.

An official Taliban statement on 01 August 2015 denied reports by Pakistani media that the founder of the Haqqani network -- a militant group affiliated with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda that is blamed for some of Afghanistan's deadliest suicide attacks -- died in 2014. Multiple credible Taliban sources had on 31 July 2015 that Jaluluddin Haqqani died in 2014 from an illness and was buried in Afghanistan's southeastern province of Khost near the border with Pakistan.

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Page last modified: 24-05-2016 19:33:00 ZULU