Haqqani Network

DisbandedGroup is active.
First AttackJanuary 14, 2008: A Haqqani Network operative carried out a suicide bombing at the Kabul Serena Hotel in Kabul. The target of the attack is thought to be Jonas Gahr Støre, the Norweigan Foreign Minister at the time (6 killed, 6 wounded).[1]
Last AttackJune 22, 2012: Afghan Special Police, backed by NATO forces, ended a 12-hour siege at a popular hotel in Kabul after Taliban gunmen stormed the building and seized dozens of hostages at a private party. The NATO Commander asserted Haqqani's responsibility for the attack (20 killed).[2]
UpdatedJuly 25, 2012

Narrative Summary

The Haqqani Network emerged in 1973 as a group opposing the Soviet-backed Afghan President Daoud Khan, and has since grown into one of the largest and most violent militant groups with the goal of securing Afghanistan and ridding the region of U.S.-led Coalition forces. The network is led by former Taliban military commander Mawlawl Jalaluddin Haqqani and is estimated to have more than 10,000 members, many of whom are affiliated with the Taliban and/or Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Haqqani Network utilizes suicide bombings, IEDs, small arms violence, extortion, kidnapping, and smuggling to further its goal of ensuring a secure Afghan state under Shariah rule and establishing a reformed, nationalist Afghan government.


The group is sustained by financial and logistical support and connections Jalaluddin Haqqani and his family have made since their struggles against the Soviet invasion in the 1980s. Under Haqqani, IED and suicide bombing tactics became significantly more efficient and deadly, using new technologies and detonation tactics to achieve their goals. [3]  

The Haqqani network has remained strong since the Taliban took over control of Afghanistan in 1996, even in the wake of the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. One of the primary reasons for their strength and staying power is the close-knit structure of the organization and relationships between the Haqqani family itself. [4] Control is kept strictly within a small inner command circle, which remains relatively ethnically homogenous in order to prevent the splintering and/or disagreement between members of the Network. It is reported that that the organizational headquarters of the Haqqani Network is in Miram Shah, where the group operates multiple base camps and where is conducts activities such as weapons acquisitions, logistical planning, and military strategy formulation. The region is heavily Pashtun, separating the Haqqani network and their heavily centralized, tribal-emulating Pashtu leadership from more decentralized groups like Al Qaeda.

Six of the Haqqani Network's leaders have been designated as terrorists since 2008 by the U.S. State Department and the Department of Treasury. [5] The organization itself, however, has not been designated on the U.S. State Department FTO list.


Following his time as a commander in the Mujahedeen Army (1980-1992), the Network was founded under Jalaluddin Haqqani during the insurgency against Soviet forces in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Haqqani himself was trained in Pakistan during the 1970s, in order to fight Prime Minister Mohammad Daud Kahn, an Afghan policeman who had overthrown the previous Prime Minister. During the Soviet invasion, the Pakistani government's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency became close with Haqqani and his organization, allowing them to become a main benefactor of American weapons, intelligence, and training. In the 1990s, Haqqani agreed to join the Taliban and rose to the position of Interior Minister. The United States attempted to convince Haqqani to sever ties with the Taliban, which he refused to do. Since Hamid Karzai's leadership began in Afghanistan, he has approached Haqqani and offered him the position as Minister of Tribal Affairs in his cabinet, which Haqqani has also refused. Since the emergence of the Haqqani Network, Haqqani and his family have thrived off of the contacts made by Haqqani during the Cold War. [6]

It is now largely believed that Sirajuddin Haqqani has emerged as the acting leader of the group. [7]

  1. Sangeen Zadran (Unknown to Present): One of the top commanders in the Haqqani Network, Zadran was designated a terrorist by the U.S. State Department on August 16, 2011. He has been tied to multiple IED attacks and was responsible for leading Haqqani militants across the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Zadran is the lieutenant to Sirajuddin Haqqani.[8]
  2. Abdul Aziz Ahbasin (Unknown to Present): Commanded by Sirajuddin Haqqani, Ahbasin serves as the shadow governor in the Taliban-controlled province of Pakita, Afghanistan. He has been responsible for vehicle ambushes and smuggling weapons across the Pakistan-Afghan border. Ahbasin was designated by the UNSC Resolution 1267 Committee on October 4, 2011.[9]
  3. Haji Mali Khan (Unknown to October 1, 2011): Khan was the senior commander of Haqqani militants in Afghanistan prior to his arrest, and was responsible for planning and facilitating attacks throughout the Southeast provinces. Khan is the uncle of Sirajuddin Haqqani. He was also a highly-revered elder in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas where the Haqqani Network is based. Khan was captured by Coalition forces on October 1, 2011. He was designated as a terrorist on November 1, 2011 by the US State Department.[10]
  4. Jalaluddin Haqqani (1980 to Present): Haqqani serves as the primary commander of the Haqqani Network's forces, leading the Network's fighters in attacks against U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though his sons have been rumored to attempt to raise financial support in other countries in the Persian Gulf, it is clear that Haqqani does not seek to commit to global jihad. He pursues an Islamist Nationalist ideological agenda, with a well-organized leadership core and more than 10,000 supporting fighters. Haqqani is credited with introducing suicide bombing to the insurgency in Afghanistan.[11]
  5. Sirajuddin Haqqani (2000 to Present): Son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, Sirajuddin is one of the two commanders of the Haqqani Network throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan (with his father). He was added to the U.S. State Department's list of designated terrorists in March 2008 for his role in the planning of the Haqqani attack against the Serena Hotel in Kabul. Sirajuddin is allegedly the head of the MiranShah Regional Military Council in Miran Shah, the headquarters of the Haqqani Network's leadership. There is currently a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. [12]
  6. Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani (2002 to Present): Khalil Haqqani is largely responsible for fundraising in the Persian Gulf/Arabian Peninsula for the Haqqani Network. He has also engaged in weapons training and distribution of weapons to combatants, and organized detention of combatants captured by the Network and Al Qaeda. He was added to the U.S. State Department's foreign terrorist list, as well as the UN 1267 list, on February 9, 2010.[13]
  7. Nasiruddin Haqqani (2004 to December 24, 2010): Son of Jalaluddin Haqqani and brother of Sirajuddin, Nasiruddin is largely responsible for raising funds and logistical support from Taliban supporters in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf. Nasiruddin was designated as a supporter of terrorism by the U.S. State Department in 2008, and by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2010. He was arrested in December of 2010 by Pakistani security agencies.[14]

Ideology & Goals

Since its inception, the Haqqani Network has aimed to disrupt Western military and political efforts in Afghanistan. The group is ideologically aligned with the Taliban, who seek to eradicate Western influence and restructure the government into a strictly Shariah-following state. Global jihad has not been at the forefront of their goals or ideological foundations, thus minimizing their reach in other regions of the world. 

Size Estimates


Though the Network has not been listed as a foreign terrorist organization in any country, six of the Haqqani Network's leaders/commanders have been designated as terrorists by the U.S. State Department and/or Department of the Treasury.

Additionally, two Haqqani Network leaders were added to the UN Resolution 1988 list of terrorists on January 6, 2012. These two men were Ahmed Jan Wazir and Fazi Rabi. Wazir is the senior advisor and spokesman for Sirajuddin Haqqani, while Rabi is a Taliban-sponsored financial official who has dispersed funds for terrorist activity throughout Afghanistan.[16]


The Haqqani Network is one of the most well-connected and well-funded insurgent groups in the region as a result of connections that Jalaluddin Haqqani made during the 1980s.  In the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) region of Pakistan, the Network benefits from financial support from wealthy individuals and organizations in the Gulf region, as well as through organized crime in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Network gets much of its revenue from criminal enterprises such as the illegal sale of chromite, timber smuggling, smuggling of precious jewels and metals. The Network has also utilized kidnapping and extortion in some instances, though this is not thought to be a significant portion of their activity. [17] 

While the majority of the funds for the Haqqani network come from contacts close to Jalaluddin Haqqani himself, it is believed that his sons have traveled to the Persian Gulf region on multiple occasions to raise support and financial assistance from wealthy sympathizers.[18]

The largest source of financial and military support for the Haqqani Network comes from its relationship with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The provision of militia, weapons, training, and finances by both the Taliban and Al Qaeda have fueled the continuous growth of the Haqqani Network since the mid-1990s. With more than 10,000 Taliban, Al Qaeda, and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) militants under their control, the Haqqani Network orchestrates attacks by diverse militias throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan.

External Influences

The Network received weapons and support from both the CIA and Pakistan's ISI during the 1980s struggle against Soviet invasion. Jalaluddin Haqqani himself was a CIA informant during this time period. Since the 1980s, the Haqqani family has been successful in gaining support from both private donors throughout the Middle East and other militia groups. The primary supplier of financial and military support for Haqqani operations since 1994 has been the Taliban. Al Qaeda has also continued to supply the Network with support since the mid-1990s. Aside from continued cooperation and sheltering of operatives from the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Jaish-e-Muhammad, IMU, and the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), there is little evidence of extensive influence from foreign organizations aside from solicited financial support from private Arab donors.[19]

Geographical Locations

The Haqqani Network operates in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in northern Pakistan, near the southeastern border of Afghanistan.[20] The group's organizational headquarters is reportedly in Miram Shah, where it operates base camps in order to facilitate activities such as weapons acquisitions, logistical planning, and military strategy formulation.[21] Haqqani-controlled regions of northern Pakistan have also served as strategic safe-havens for other militant organizations, such as Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lakshar-e-Taiba (LeT), and members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). This strategic location of the Haqqani network facilitates interaction between many of these insurgent groups.

Targets & Tactics

The Haqqani Network utilizes suicide bombings, IEDs, small arms violence, extortion, kidnapping, and smuggling to raise support and cripple foreign forces in the region. The group is thought to have pioneered the use of suicide bombing in Afghanistan, and routinely uses foreigners in their attacks rather than locals. Additionally, Haqqani Network technologies, specifically in regards to bomb-making and remote detonation, are highly advanced. Rather than the traditional pressure-triggered devices used in much of Afghanistan and Iraq, [22] Haqqani operatives frequently use remote detonation through cellular phone signals and radio frequency.

The network has specifically targeted Western buildings and/or organizations, as well as institutions that sympathize with or support foreign officials. Past targets have included the Serena Hotel in Kabul, where the Norwegian Foreign Minister was reported to be at the time of the attack, NATO convoys, the U.S. Embassy, and military bases throughout Afghanistan.

Political Activities

The Haqqani Network itself does not seek formal political participation; political relations with either Pakistan or Afghanistan have solely been attributed to individual motivation by Jalaluddin Haqqani.


Throughout the 1980s, Haqqani led fighters against the Soviet-backed government of Daoud Khan. Organized violence beginning in 1985 led the U.S. government and the Pakistani ISI to support Haqqani. Following the end of the Marxist Revolution in 1978 by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), Haqqani became more intertwined with bin Laden and the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. [23]

In 1992, Haqqani was appointed as the Justice Minister to the Islamic State of Afghanistan. Beginning in 1996, he served as the Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs under the Taliban government, a position he held until the Taliban's retreat from Kabul in late 2001. [24] In October 2001, Haqqani began serving as the Taliban's military commander. It is suspected that he had a role in the facilitation of Osama bin Laden's escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan shortly after the U.S. invasion. After Hamid Karzai's election, Karzai offered Haqqani a position in the cabinet, which Haqqani refused.[25]

Other members of the Haqqani Network are not known to have political activities as of mid-2012.

Major Attacks

  1. January 14, 2008: Three Haqqani militants detonated a car bomb outside the Kabul Serena Hotel to create a distraction while a fourth entered and detonated his suicide vest. The three gunmen fired AK-47s inside the hotel compound, shooting several people before the fourth man's vest detonated (6 killed, 6 wounded).[26]
  2. May 18, 2010: 18 people, including 5 U.S. soldiers, were killed when a Taliban militant's suicide car bomb attacked a NATO convoy in Kabul. It was the deadliest attack against ranking officers in the War in Afghanistan, and caused the U.S. casualty total from the war to cross 1,000. Though claimed by the Taliban, U.S. military officials suspect the Haqqani Network's responsibility for the attack (18 killed, 52 wounded).[27]
  3. September 10, 2011: A truck bomb exploded outside Combat Outpost Sayed Abad in the Wardak province of Afghanistan. The attack killed five Afghans, including four civilians, and wounded 77 U.S. soldiers, 14 Afghan civilians, and three policemen. The Pentagon blamed the Haqqani Network for the attack (5 killed, 94 wounded).[28]
  4. September 12, 2011: The Haqqani network staged an attack on the U.S. Embassy and nearby NATO bases in Kabul. United States Ambassador Ryan Crocker blamed the Haqqani Network, though no official statement was released by U.S. military or Haqqani affiliates (11 killed, 23 injured).[29]

Relationships with Other Groups

The Haqqani Network has a strong alliance with the Taliban in Afghanistan, specifically following the Taliban's de facto control of Afghanistan beginning in 1996. Haqqani accepted a position as the Minister of Tribal Affairs, a cabinet position in the Taliban government. Following the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, Haqqani and his family fled to Pakistan. Journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad reported that Afghan President Hamid Karzai reached out to invite Jalaluddin Haqqani to serve as the Prime Minister in the Afghan government in an effort to bring more "moderate" Taliban supporters into the new Afghan government structure. According to Shahzad, Haqqani refused. [30] The Haqqani Network has been responsible for the transportation of Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border over the past decade, specifically to carry out attacks against NATO and Coalition forces in the southeastern provinces of Afghanistan. Additionally, Nasiruddin Haqqani traveled to Saudi Arabia with a Taliban operative in 2004 to gather funds for Taliban operations, intended for funding attacks to disrupt the 2004 Afghan elections.[31] The relations between the Haqqani Network and the Taliban remain extremely strong, as the Network commands several thousand Taliban operatives at any given time.

The Haqqani Network's relations with Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan are also complex, dating back to the early 1990s. As the Haqqani Network emerged in the mid-1970s to early 1980s, they are considered to have laid the foundations for Pashtun militia groups in the region.[32] One of the reasons for the link between these two groups is the ethnic similarities between them, both founded in mixed Arab and Pashun regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Network is both complex and advanced in their methodology and capabilities, allowing for the development of militant activity in their footsteps. The emergence of Al Qaeda and their strategies are commonly attributed to the groundwork laid by the Haqqani Network throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

The Haqqani Network also has ties to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), largely in regards to their efforts to mediate discussions between TTP and the Pakistani government. It is reported that Haqqani has urged TTP militia to refrain from violently engaging Pakistani forces.[33]

The Network has been tied to operations with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a terrorist group also nurtured and reportedly funded by the Pakistan Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI). Though direct links between these two groups are not known, it is suspected that the ISI utilizes both groups to carry out terror operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. [34] It is also suspected that Al Qaeda and the ISI utilize Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) as a proxy for carrying out attacks alongside Haqqani forces.

Community Relationships

The Haqqani Network is closely tied to the local tribes in the FATA region in Pakistan. The Network frequently provides ample financial compensation to locals willing to help support, protect, and provide for Haqqani operatives or operations. This allows for the Network to draw upon a larger population of fighters for their operations. However, while drawing support and resources from the FATA region, non-Pashtun members of the Haqqani Network are not allowed in the inner command circle.[35]


  1. ^ "Designation of Sangeen Zadran." Voice of America. September 4, 2011.<http://www.voanews.com/policy/editorials/asia/Designation-Of-Sangeen-Zadran-129142798.html>
  2. ^ "NATO Commander links Haqqani network to Kabul attack." Reuters. June 22, 2012. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/22/us-afghanistan-hotel-haqqani-idUSBRE85L0MX20120622>
  3. ^ Gopal, Anand. "The most deadly US foe in Afghanistan." Christian Science Monitor. May 31, 2009. <http://stageorigin2.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2009/0601/p10s01-wosc.html> Last accessed July 5, 2012.
  4. ^ Gopal, Anand, Mansur Khan Mahsud, and Brian Fishman. "Inside the Haqqani Network." Foreign Policy Group. June 3, 2010. <http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/06/03/inside_the_haqqani_network_0>
  5. ^ "Designation of Haqqani Network Commander Mali Khan." Office of the Spokesman. November 1, 2011. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/11/176452.htm. Last accessed July 7, 2012.
  6. ^ Lawrence, Kendall. "The Haqqani Network." Threat Convergence Profile Series. The Fund For Peace. October 2011. Last accessed July 10, 2012.
  7. ^ Gall, Carlotta. "Old-Line Taliban Commander is Face of Rising Afghan Threat." June 17, 2008. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/world/asia/17iht-17warlord.13756827.html?_r=1. Accessed July 16, 2012.
  8. ^ "Designation of Haqqani Network Commander Sangeen Zadran." Office of the Spokesperson. August 16, 2011. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/08/170582.htm. Accessed July 17, 2012.
  9. ^ "Abdul Aziz Ahbasin." United Nations Security Council Committee. October 4, 2011. http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1988/NSTI15511E.shtml. Accessed July 17, 2012.
  10. ^ "Afghanistan Haqqani militant Haji Mali Khan captured." BBC News. October 1, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15136007. Accessed July 16, 2012.
  11. ^ Lawrence, Kendall. "The Haqqani Network." Threat Convergence Profile Series. The Fund For Peace. October 2011. Last accessed July 10, 2012.
  12. ^ "US forced traced Sirajuddin Haqqani to Pakistan." World News Network. April 30, 2012. http://article.wn.com/view/2012/04/30/US_forces_traced_Sirajuddin_Haqqani_to_Pak_Report/.Accessed July 17, 2012.
  13. ^ Malta Financial Services Authority. "Terrorism Finance: Designation of Taliban Financial Facilitators Khalil Al- Rahman Haqqani and Said Jan 'And Al-Salam."
  14. ^ "Nasiruddin Haqqani." Global Jihad. Updated December 28, 2010. http://www.globaljihad.net/view_page.asp?id=2000. Accessed July 16, 2012.
  15. ^ Reuters. "No Haqqani Network Sanctuaries in Pakistan." The Express Tribune. September 18, 2011. <http://tribune.com.pk/story/254368/no-haqqani-network-sanctuaries-in-pakistan-sirajuddin/>. Last accessed July 7, 2012.
  16. ^ Roggio, Bill. "UN adds 2 Haqqani Network leaders to terrorist list." The Long War Journal. January 14, 2012. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/01/un_adds_2_haqqani_ne.php. Accessed July 23, 2012.
  17. ^ Mazzetti, Mark, Scott Shane and Alissa J. Rubin. "Brutal Haqqani Crime Clan Bedevils U.S. in Afghanistan." September 24, 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/world/asia/brutal-haqqani-clan-bedevils-united-states-in-afghanistan.html?pagewanted=all>. Accessed July 11, 2012.
  18. ^ Roggio, Bill. "UN adds 2 Haqqani Network leaders to terrorist list." The Long War Journal. January 14, 2012. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/01/un_adds_2_haqqani_ne.php. Accessed July 23, 2012.
  19. ^ Khan, Zia. "Who on Earth are the Haqqanis?" The Express Tribune. September 2, 2011. http://tribune.com.pk/story/257761/who-on-earth-are-the-haqqanis/. Accessed July 16, 2012.
  20. ^ Lawrence, Kendall. "Threat Convergence Profile Series: The Haqqani Network." The Fund For Peace. June 2010. p. 3. <http://www.fundforpeace.org/global/library/ttcvr1127-threatconvergence-haqqani-11b.pdf>
  21. ^ Gopal, Anand, Mansur Khan Mahsud, and Brian Fishman. "Inside the Haqqani Network." Foreign Policy Group. June 3, 2010. <http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/06/03/inside_the_haqqani_network_0>
  22. ^ Gopal, Anand. "The most deadly US foe in Afghanistan." Christian Science Monitor. May 31, 2009. <http://stageorigin2.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2009/0601/p10s01-wosc.html> Last accessed July 5, 2012.
  23. ^ The Return of the Taliban."Frontline Series. PBS. Published October 3, 2006. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/militants/haqqani.html. Accessed July 12, 2012.
  24. ^ Department of Defense "Mohammad Gul: summarized transcripts." The Washington Post. De-Classified (CRST) Testimony, taken Sept. 15. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/guantanamo/FedaAhmed.pdf>.
  25. ^ Shahzad, Syed Salaam. "Through the eyes of the Taliban." Asia Times. May 5, 2004. <http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/FE05Ag02.html> Accessed July 12, 2012.
  26. ^ http://www.voanews.com/policy/editorials/asia/Designation-Of-Sangeen-Zadran-129142798.html
  27. ^ "Kabul suicide bomber kills 18 in attack on Nato convoy." BBC News. May 18, 2010. . Last accessed July 10, 2012.
  28. ^ Jelinek, Pauline. "Haqqani group behind Afghan bombing, U.S. says". Associated Press. Military Times. September 12, 2011. .
  29. ^ Rubin, Alissa J, Ray Rivera, Jack Healy "U.S. Blames Kabul Assault on Pakistan-Based Group". The New York Times. September 14, 2011. . Accessed July 10
  30. ^ Syed Salaam Shahzad (2004-05-05). "Through the eyes of the Taliban." Asia Times. Published May 5, 2004. Last accessed 2009-02-10. <http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/FE05Ag02.html>
  31. ^ "Nasiruddin Haqqani." Global Jihad. Updated December 28, 2010. http://www.globaljihad.net/view_page.asp?id=2000. Accessed July 16, 2012.
  32. ^ Brown, Vahid and Daniel Rassler. "The Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda." Foreign Policy. The Washington Post. July 19, 2011. http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/07/19/the_haqqani_network_and_al_qaeda#_edn2. Accessed July 16, 2012.
  33. ^ Hamid, Mir. "Haqqani Network pushing TTP to make peace with Pakistan." The News International. October 5, 2011. http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=9323&Cat=13. Accessed July 16, 2012.
  34. ^ Pakistan using Haqqani Network, LeT as proxies: US military commander Mike Mullin." The Economic Times. September 29, 2011. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-09-29/news/30218183_1_haqqani-network-pakistan-army-general-ashfaq-pervez-kayani. Accessed July 17, 2012.
  35. ^ Gopal, Anand, Mansur Khan Mahsud, and Brian Fishman. "Inside the Haqqani Network." Foreign Policy Group. June 3, 2010. <http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/06/03/inside_the_haqqani_network_0>