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Haqqani Network - Recent Activities

In July 2008 a CIA assessment specifically pointed to links between members of the spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and the militant network led by Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, which American officials believed maintains close ties to senior figures of Al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas.

The Haqqani Network is responsible for some of the highest-profile attacks of the Afghan war, including the June 2011 assault on the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel, conducted jointly with the Afghan Taliban, and two major suicide bombings—in 2008 and 2009 — against the Indian Embassy in Kabul. In September 2011, the Haqqanis participated in a day-long assault against major targets in Kabul, including the US Embassy, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters, the Afghan Presidential Palace, and the Afghan National Directorate of Security headquarters. On 13 September 2011, Haqqani network terrorists staged a 20-hour attack on foreign embassies in Kabul, Afghanistan — the longest to date. It gained them worldwide attention.

On 22 September 2011, outgoing US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence of actively supporting the Haqqani network and their operations inside Pakistan. Adm. Mullen said September 22, 2011 that Pakistan’s intelligence service directly aided the terrorist Haqqani network’s wave of attacks against US servicemembers and other targets in Afghanistan. The US had evidence, he said, that Pakistan supported the massive truck bomb that injured 80 US troops at Combat Outpost Sayed Abad on Sept. 10, as well as the attack on the US Embassy in Kabul, a brazen assault on a Kabul hotel in June and several smaller operations. “The Haqqani Network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency,” Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Pakistani government rejected the accusations, saying that it maintained back-channel contacts with the group for the purposes of furthering peace and stability.

Admiral Mullen said that the Haqqani Network was a virtual arm of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, and bore some responsibility for the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kabul and various other attacks. So, for the first time in history, an ally stood accused of a virtual act of war against the United States.

General Martin E. Dempsey, said 28 November 2011 "That was considered a very serious statement by the Congress of the United States. And we’ve been trying to sort through the extent to which the Haqqani Network is at least supported or has sanctuary. Whether it’s an arm of the Pakistani ISI is something we will continue to watch. ... GEN. DEMPSEY: I wouldn’t – I’m not at the point where I have said that. I believe that they have lived – the Haqqani Network has lived in Pakistan, in the FATA, for 20 years. And so they have set roots. They’ve built relationships inside of Pakistan. They have been supported. We know that. They would admit that through the years. But whether they’re acting at the behest or at the direction of the ISI, I’m not prepared to say that. Q: You’re not prepared to say it at the moment, but you are considering that it might be the case."

The US Government in 2012 designated the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization because of its involvement in the Afghan insurgency, attacks on US military and civilian personnel and Western interests in Afghanistan, and because of its ties to the Taliban and al-Qa‘ida. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said 07 September 2012, after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially designated the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization: “I strongly support Secretary Clinton’s designation of the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization. This group is responsible for more than 1,300 killed and injured U.S. troops, orchestrates the largest attacks inside Afghanistan, assassinates Afghan leaders and seeks control of Afghan provinces.

“This action will make it harder for the Haqqani Network to raise funds and operate its businesses, and will create new risks for anyone working with it. Over the past two years I have heard from leaders in the intelligence community and military in Washington and in Kabul that designation is the right thing to do. This is a terrorist organization and an enemy of the United States, and I urge Pakistan to redouble its efforts—working with U.S. and Afghan partners—to eliminate the Haqqani threat.”

The Defense Department welcomed the decision by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to designate the Haqqani network a terrorist organization, Pentagon Spokesman George Little said 07 September 2012. “The Haqqani network represents a significant threat to U.S. national security, and we will continue our aggressive military action against this threat,” Little said in a written statement. Military officials had repeatedly connected the group to deadly attacks in Afghanistan, including those against U.S. forces and targets such as the American embassy in Kabul.

In October 2013, Afghan security forces intercepted a truck bomb deployed by the Haqqanis against Forward Operating Base Goode in Paktiya Province. The device, which did not detonate, contained some 61,500 pounds of explosives and was the largest truck bomb ever built. The group is also involved in a number of criminal activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including extortion, kidnapping for ransom, and smuggling.

In 2014 the Haqqani Network remained the most potent strain of the insurgency and the greatest risk to U.S. and coalition forces due to its focus on high-profile attacks. The Haqqani Network and affiliated groups share the goals of expelling U.S. and coalition forces, destabilizing the Afghan government, and reestablishing an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They would likely remain the most significant threat to coalition forces in the post-2014 non-combat mission, especially if they wre not denied sanctuary in Pakistan.

The Haqqani Network led the insurgency in the eastern Afghan provinces of Paktika and Khost, and demonstrated the capability and intent to support and launch high-profile, complex attacks across the country and in the Kabul region. Pakistani military operations early in 2015 caused some disruption to the Haqqani Network; however, it has still been able to plan and conduct attacks. During this period, US and Afghan special operations forces increased security operations against the Haqqani Network and disrupted several dangerous threat streams that sought to inflict significant casualties against US, coalition, and Afghan personnel, particularly in Kabul.

In the wake of the July 2015 announcement of long-time Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s death in 2013 and Mullah Mansour’s attempt to consolidate the movement behind his leadership, Afghan, Pakistani, and other interlocutors continue to emphasize the importance of political reconciliation. However, the Taliban’s resilience throughout the second half of 2015 demonstrated their resolve to continue fighting. The elevation of Haqqani Network leader Siraj Haqqani as Taliban leader Mullah Mansour’s deputy signalled that the Haqqani Network remained a critical and lethal component of the overall Taliban-led insurgency.

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