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Sirajuddin Haqqani

Sirajuddin Haqqani [aka Siraj, Khalifa, Mohammad Siraj, Sarajadin, Cirodjiddin, Seraj, Arkani, Khalifa (Boss) Shahib, Halifa, Ahmed Zia, Sirajuddin Jallaloudine Haqqani, Siraj Haqqani, Serajuddin Haqani, Siraj Haqani, or Saraj Haqani] Sirajuddin Haqqani, Jalaluddin’s son, led the day-to-day activities of the Haqqani Network, along with several of his closest relatives.

Haqqani was born in either Afghanistan or Pakistan in the 1970s. Taliban sources say Sirajuddin Haqqani studied in a religious seminary, Mamba-ul-Uloom, that his ailing father had established in Pakistan’s North Waziristan – a volatile tribal region near the Afghan border during the armed struggle against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Sirajuddin, born around 1970-1973, runs day-to-day affairs for the Haqqani network. This Taliban group operates primarily in Khowst and Paktika provinces but is also suspected of having a hand in some of the most audacious Taliban attacks in Kabul, including the July 2008 bombing of the Indian embassy there. The Haqqanis have generally taken the stance that attacks against Pakistan's government are illegitimate, and they have worked to keep militant leaders in Waziristan focused on the war in Afghanistan.

Jalaluddin Haqqani's son Sirajudin ascended to a key leadership role, and reportedly called for changes in the leadership of the Quetta shura. US officials in Afghanistan note that Sirajudin, like his father, has focused on his home Zadran district but also expanded his activities into the areas south of Kabul. Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin were the commanders of the mujahideen forces that fought the Pakistani government to a draw in Waziristan in 2008.

Sirajuddin is wanted by the US for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on Kabul’s Serena Hotel in Afghanistan that killed six people, including an American citizen, Sirajuddin Haqqani allegedly was inolved in the planning of the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008. He has admitted planning this January 2008 attack.

Acting under the authority of and in accordance with section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224 of September 23, 2001, as amended by Executive Order 13268 of July 2, 2002, and Executive Order 13284 of January 23, 2003, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice determined February 29, 2008 [published in the Federal Register 07 March 2008] that the individual known as Sirajuddin Haqqani (aka Sirajuddin Haqani, aka Siraj Haqqani, aka Siraj Haqani, aka Saraj Haqqani, aka Saraj Haqani) has committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.

Consistent with the determination in section 10 of Executive Order 13224 that “prior notice to persons determined to be subject to the Order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States would render ineffectual the blocking and other measures authorized in the Order because of the ability to transfer funds instantaneously,” Rice determined that no prior notice needs to be provided to any person subject to this determination who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, because to do so would render ineffectual the measures authorized in the Order.

Sirajuddin Haqqani is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to the arrest of Sirajuddin Haqqani. Haqqani is thought to stay in Pakistan, specifically the Miram Shah, North Waziristan, Pakistan, area. He is reportedly a senior leader of the Haqqani network, and maintains close ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda. Haqqani is a specially designated global terrorist.

Rival Pakistani Taliban leaders Baitullah Mehsud, Maulvi Nazir, and Hafiz Gul Bahadur formed a new militant alliance on 23 February 2009. The new alliance recognizes Taliban leader Mullah Omar as its leader, and its goal is to fight the planned U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan. The Pakistani militant leaders will maintained their independent militants groups but would now facilitate cooperation in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

Sirajuddin Haqqani claimed in the press that he had convinced the three rival Taliban leaders to meet. Sirajuddin and his father Jalaluddin Haqqani lead much of the Taliban militancy in eastern Afghanistan. Sirajuddin often travels to the tribal areas of Pakistan, North Waziristan in particular, and has served as a mediator between these rival Taliban leaders. On 3 October 2011, Siraj Haqqani said in an interview with the BBC that the United States was one of many nations whose intelligence agencies had asked the group to quit the Afghan insurgency. On 21 October 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then visiting Pakistan, acknowledged that the United States has reached out to the militant Haqqani network in a bid to end the violence in war-torn Afghanistan. Her visit was also said to be part of US pressure for Pakistani military action against the group in Pakistan's North Waziristan.

By 2013 the Haqqani sanctuary in North Waziristan was threatened by a deepening rift with Hafiz Gul Bahadar, a powerful Pakistani Taliban leader. Bahadar and his supporters were unhappy with Nasiruddin's brother Sirajuddin Haqqani because of his support for radical fighters from the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab. Such fighters, dubbed Punjabi Taliban in Pakistan, were widely seen as insensitive to local sentiments in North Waziristan, whose Pashtun population strongly resented the decade-long insecurity in the region.

Of the groups involved in the Taliban-led insurgency, the Haqqani Network remains the greatest threat to US, coalition, and Afghan forces and continued to be the most critical enabler of al Qaeda. Haqqani Network leader Siraj Haqqani’s elevation as Taliban leader Mullah Mansour’s deputy further strengthened the Haqqani Network’s role in the Taliban-led insurgency. The Haqqani Network and affiliated groups shared the goals of expelling US and coalition forces, overthrowing the Afghan government, and re-establishing an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

In August 2014 the US Department of State's Rewards for Justice program offered new rewards for information on four key leaders of the Haqqani Network terrorist organization and increased a previously announced reward offer for information on another leader of the group. The Department has authorized rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of Aziz Haqqani, Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, Yahya Haqqani, and Abdul Rauf Zakir. The Department also increased its previous reward offer of up to $5 million for information on the group’s leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, to up to $10 million.

The Taliban named new leadership after the 25 July 2015 announcement of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Mullah Omar was the head of the Taliban regime during 1996–2001, and then of the insurgent Taliban. The new Taliban leader is Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, with Haqqani Network leader Siraj Haqqani serving as his deputy.

The Afghan intelligence agency confirmed 22 May 2016 that Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed in a US airstrike in Pakistan near the Afghan border. The person most likely to succeed Mansour is one of the deadliest militants in the region. The next leader was likely to be either Mansour's deputy, Sirajuddin Haqqani, or a member of the family of Mansour's predecessor, Mullah Omar. "If Sirajuddin Haqqani becomes the new leader of the Taliban, then the US would face a nightmare scenario - in effect, the group that it regards as the biggest threat to its troops in Afghanistan would be leading the Taliban insurgency. And that's the last thing the US wants," underlined Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.

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