The Taliban Story: Haqqani Nexus, the fountainhead of Jihad (Part 4)
Photo Source: France 24

By Arun Anand-

The Taliban Story: Haqqani Nexus, the fountainhead of Jihad (Part 4)
Photo Source: France 24

This multi-part series brings ‘The Taliban Story’ to our readers. You can share the feedback at [email protected]. Here is the fourth part

Haqqani Network/Nexus is a relatively unknown organization or network as compared to many other similar organizations such Al-Qaida, Islamic State, Muslim Brotherhood. Unlike these organizations, the Haqqani network keeps a low profile. However, it is one of the most lethal and effective networks/nexus with a global outreach to export Islamic terrorism. In fact, it has become the major launchpad for delivering terrorist violence across the globe.

This network provides sanctuary, training, recruits, logistic support for all major Islamic terror outfits in the world. Taliban has been one of the major beneficiaries of these activities of the Haqqani network which in turn is backed, protected, and promoted by Pakistan. The Haqqanis work closely with the Pakistani Taliban as well as Afghani Taliban.

The Pakistani Taliban are active under the umbrella Tehreik-e-Taliban Pakistan(TTP) while the Afghanistani Taliban may be simply called ‘Taliban’. Both of them don’t believe in democracy and support the rule of Sharia with little scope for the non-Sunni population. Just as the Afghani Taliban has been targeting Shias, Hazaras, and other minorities in Afghanistan, TTP has been targeting Balochis, Hazaras, Sindhis, Hindus, and other non-Sunni sects of Islam. Both of them are against women’s rights also.

Coming back to the Haqqani network, not much was known about it till around one and a half-decade ago, though its leader Jalaluddin Haqqani had officially declared ‘Jihad’ in the 1970s.

‘The network began consistently making international headlines with a July 2008 suicide attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, followed by a …long campaign of high profile attack in the Afghan capital.’1 In September 2011 the Haqqani Network launched one of the most audacious attacks on Kabul. For 24 hours, it pounded the foreign embassies in Kabul with a barrage of gunfire and rockets. The attacks were carried out from the upper floors of a high-rise building.

Around a week after the attack, the outgoing Joints Chief of Staff of the US, Admiral Mike Mullen said in a US state Senate testimony, “Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. With ISI support, Haqqani operatives plan and conducted that [September 13] truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy. We also have credible evidence they were behind the June 28th attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations.”2

According to a US Congress report in 2012, “…..The terrorist network led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin, based in the FATA, is commonly identified as the most dangerous of Afghan insurgent groups battling U.S.-led forces in eastern Afghanistan”.3

The Haqqani network has been so mysteriously low profile that the West hardly took notice of it during the first four decades since its inception in the 1970s.

‘The Haqqani network was not even known as such in the West until 2006. The appellation first appears in a diplomatic cable sent to Washington on 18 January of that year from Richard Norland, then chief of mission at the US Embassy in Kabul. Discussing a recent series of bomb attacks in the city of Khost the cable notes that “Khost Governor (Merajuddin) Pathan is convinced that the bombings were the work of the Haqqani network operating out of Miram Shah in Pakistan’s North Waziristan.” Only one other 2006 usage of the term appears in the diplomatic cables traffic leaked by the WikiLeaks organization, a 2 July 2006 cable in which, again. the term is used in a passage summarising statements made by an Afghan official. Beginning in 2007, however, the phrase is used with increasing frequency in the cable traffic reflecting its entry by that time into wider usage in the Western press, following its appearance in Senate testimony, delivered by Rear Admiral Robert Moeller in March 2006.4

‘The Haqqani network’s area of operation, the place of the fountainhead, straddles the Durand line, which is more of a geopolitical fault line than an international border dividing Afghanistan from Pakistan. The Haqqani network’s early members all hailed from southeastern Afghanistan and studied in late 1960 is at the Haqqaniyya seminary in north-western Pakistan. Rooted in both countries, the Haqqanis proved particularly well suited to facilitate a conflict between the two States, one centering initially on the ultimate status of the Pashto homelands bisected by the Durand line. …The Haqqani sided with Pakistan in this dispute and because of this alliance, their area of operation in Afghanistan developed into the single richest pipeline for war material servicing the anti-Soviet conflict during the 1980s.

…By their own estimates, the ISI and US intelligence agency CIA supplied the Haqqanis with at least 12000 tons of war material every year during the 1980s conflict with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.’5

From the mid-1980s, the Haqqani network expanded its reach and started promoting terrorism to all corners of the world.

‘From North Africa to the North Caucasus, the Persian Gulf to the Philippines, a truly global coterie of militant groups has been actively supported by the Haqqani network through training, fundraising, and propaganda services. Though the Haqqanis established this network of relationships during the 1980s and 1990s, they did not cease with the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.’ From their haven in North Waziristan, they provided crucial support to transnational as well as regional militants including forces like Taliban.6

(to be continued)



  1. Fountainhead of Jihad by Vahid Brown and Dan Rassler, Hachette India,( 2013 ed.)(Pp-1)
  4. Fountainhead of Jihad by Vahid Brown and Dan Rassler, Hachette India,( 2013 ed.)(Pp-2)
  5. Fountainhead of Jihad by Vahid Brown and Dan Rassler, Hachette India,( 2013 ed.)(Pp4-8)
  6. Fountainhead of Jihad by Vahid Brown and Dan Rassler, Hachette India,( 2013 ed.)(Pp4-8)