The Haqqani Network is a militant organization operatingin the southeastern region of Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. It was formed bymujahedeen commander, Jalaluddin Haqqani, in the late 1970s. “The Haqqani Networkestablished its jihadist credentials in the 1970s during the Afghan war againstthe Soviets as a Taliban-allied militant group” (Stanford University, 2017). Ithas evolved throughout the years from a small a Sunni Islam tribal-basedgroup to one of the most influential terrorist organizations in South Asia. In 2004nl1 ,Jalaluddin Haqqani’s son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, took command of the network alongwith several of his close relatives.
One of the goals of the Haqqani Network since 2001 is to drive theU.S led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) coalition out of Afghanistanand regain Taliban rule in the country. They are against the U.S led coalitionforces, the establishment of new security forces and new democraticinstitutions. Since Sirajuddin Haqqani took over command of the network, theirgoals have shifted to be more violent. The purpose of the violence is toenforce obedience, terrorize and deter rival groups in order to maintaincontrol of its population. “Historically, Haqqani Network received significant military andfinancial resources from the U.
S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), SaudiArabia, and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), in particular duringthe 1980s as part of the anti-Soviet resistance” (Stanford University, 2017). nl2 Today, it is believed that Pakistan still supports the Haqqani Networkas well as other allied militant groups to support the departure of Westernforces.
The network also has sanctuary and operational guidance from Pakistan’stribal areas. The reason these areas support the network is because of theinterest they have to dominate key terrain bordering Afghanistan to keep outnational, northern, U.S. and Indian influence (Dressler, 2012).
Tactics, techniques and procedures used by thegroup is the use of improvised explosive devices (IED), suicide attacks, masscasualty bombings, mortars, and rockets. They also conduct assassinations,kidnappings, executions, raids and assaults (Taliban Top 5 Most Deadly TacticsTechniques and Procedures, 2010). It is believed that the Haqqani Networkinitiated the use of suicide bombing in Afghanistan.
One of the most notablesuicide bombing attacks conducted by the network was done in 2009 in a U.S basein Khost province killing seven CIA operatives. In June 2009, Bowe Bergdahl wasallegedly captured by the Haqqani Network and held captive until 2014. He wasreleased in exchange for five Taliban commanders from Guantanamo Bay (Gannon,2017).nl3 The Haqqani Network structure is largelyfamilial. “Many of the group’s prominent leaders graduated from the Dar al-UlumHaqqaniyya madrassa in Pakistan, the religious educational institution fromwhich Haqqani Network derived its name” (Stanford University, 2017). The formercommander of the network from 1973 to 2001 was Jalaluddin Haqqani.
He held aclose, personal relationship with Osama bin Laden and assisted in theorganization and protection of Al Qaeda’s first training camp in Afghanistan.After the U.S invasion, Jalaluddin handed the operation control to his son, SirajuddinHaqqani. Sirajuddin has taken far more violent tactics than those of his fatherby using death squads for public executions and videos of mass beheadings and assassinations.
The Haqqani Network, because of its involvementand support of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, has been supported and financed bythese allies. The group is also believed to receive funding from wealthy donorsin the Arab world due to fundraising offices in several Gulf States (CounterExtremism Project, 2015). “In addition to private donors, the networkhas continued to receive financial and logistical support from the Pakistanmilitary, and continues to maintain close operational ties with the ISInl4 “(Peters, 2012). Pakistan denies supporting the Haqqani Network, however, theyresist U.
S pressure to military operations against the network.In order for Human Intelligence (HUMINT) to understand how tooperate against the Haqqani Network, we need to understand the operationalenvironment and variables in which the group works. The network’s political,military, economic, and social support as well as infrastructure and physicalenvironment can potentially hinder HUMINT operations in area of operation wherethe network is prominent. In order to overcome this, we need to find apotential weakness within each variable. We know that, allegedly, the PakistaniISI is supporting the Haqqani Network and in Afghanistan, they kill anyone thatdoes not adhere to the networks military-political campaigns and replace themwith Haqqani Network approved leaders (Stanford, 2017). In addition to the political corruptionnl5 ,”US and Afghan officials claim that the Haqqani Network is backed by thePakistani military, a charge denied by Pakistani authorities” (Baloch, 2017).
With thesupport of Pakistani military and the resistance to conduct military operationsagainst the network, the Haqqani Network is secured and safe guarded againstany potential threat. nl6 Asstated previously, the Haqqani Network is funded by militant groups and alliesas well as wealthy donors in the Gulf States. Economically, as long as theycontinue to support the Taliban and al-Qaeda groups as well as keep protectingthe border of Pakistan and Afghanistan for the local Pakistani tribes, theyhave a secure economic stand. The Haqqani Network currently has between three and ten thousandfighters. Socially, they are accepted by the Pakistani Federally AdministeredTribal Areas (FATA) where they operate and the push drive out the U.S-ledcoalition also has the support from the Afghan people. The infrastructure ofthe Haqqani Network is very complex and modern within the jihadist groups. “In the Afghanistan-Pakistan region alone, Haqqani Network’svast array of front companies allows the group to launder illicit and licitproceeds across key business sectors, including import-export, real estate, cardealerships, telephone, construction, and weapons and natural resourcessmuggling” (Stanford University, 2017).
The safe havens provided by Pakistan for theHaqqani Network allow for the network to assist allied militant organizations.The physical environment in which they operate also give them an advantage touse the terrain features to defeat opposing forces. In regard to time, theHaqanni Network has been operating for years under different agendas andchanging beliefsnl7 , however, they are always in the fight and have not given up theirposition within the area of operation. It is important for HUMINT to know and exploitthese variables so we could operate against the group under thesecircumstances.
For instance, the Pakistani tribe nl8 is allowing the Haqqani Network to operate on their border with Afghanistanto secure the key terrain, however, the Haqqani Network wants to secure it andre-establish Taliban rule in the countrynl9 . With Taliban being in control, the local population would still be indanger. HUMINT can focus and emphasis this danger to the local people andencourage them to pull their support. In conclusion, the HaqqaniNetwork is a strong terrorist group with many operational advantages that havehelped them stay active for many years. With the help and understanding oftheir history, how they operate and the operational variables, HUMINT canassist in operating against the group to keep them from causing more damage andterrorizing local populations.
nl1Statedin previous paragraph with a different date. nl2Ithink this would fit better in the paragraph about its founding and evolution. nl3Recentnews / attacks? nl4Pakistanintelligence? nl5Thiscould use detail / background explanation nl6AreHN protected from threats from Pakistan, or does the assistance help themprotect themselves? nl7Havebeliefs changed or tactics and alliances? nl8PakistanIs there recent news about Pakistan’s role that we needto understand? nl9Thissentence could probably be clarified if separated into 2 sentences.