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Institute for the Study of War: Haqqani Network

October 2011


The Institute for the Study of War provides an overview of the strategy of the Haqqani network, an insurgency group in Afghanistan with connections to al-Qaeda and Pakistan.

The group is still believed to be led by the old (estimated over sixty years) and ailing Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani. Mawlawi Haqqani is a former anti-Soviet resistance commander known for ruthless effectiveness as a fighter.  His ties to Pakistan, and his base in and around Miram Shah, go as far back as his exile during the Republican government of Sardar Daud in early 1970s.  He was initially a part of the many mujahideen leaders that formed Hizb-e-Islami. When Hezb-e Islami fractured in the late 1970s, Haqqani followed Yunis Khalis rather than Hekmatyar, and became one of the most important commanders in the Hezb-e Islami (Khalis) or HIK.  When Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan, Haqqani was in Pakistan with the other key mujahideen leaders.  Haqqani later became a field commander in Mawlawi Yunis Khalis's Hizb-e-Islami.  He received significant support from the CIA and from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), and built up a sizable and competent militia force by the mid-1980s. Haqqani is believed to be influenced by radical Islamist principles drawn from the early Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt , which were prevalent among many of the religiously-motivated Afghan mujahideen of that time.  Mawlawi Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani run a number of madrassas and training camps in North Wazirstan.1 Due to his father's ill health, Sirajuddin Haqqani is reported to be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the movement.

The Haqqanis hail from the Zadran qaum (tribe), who are mostly based in Paktia and Khost provinces in the east of Afghanistan. Their support base has always been in that area with a base in the FATA's North Wazirstan.

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