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Terror group Haqqani network takes control of Kabul’s security, Khalil Haqqani, with a $5m bounty on his head, seen roaming the streets: Full details

The handing over of Kabul by the Taliban to the Haqqani network, according to many western intelligence officials, is in direct violation of Qatar talks in which the Taliban had promised the United States not to engage or allow the country to become a safe haven for foreign terrorists, such as Al-Qaeda.

A week after capturing Kabul, the seat of power in Afghanistan, the Taliban has delegated the security of Kabul to the members of the dreaded terrorist organisation – Haqqani Network, which has close ties with foreign Islamic terrorist groups, including a long-standing association with Al-Qaeda. 

According to the reports, Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, is currently taken control by nearly 6,000 jihadis of the Haqqani Network led by Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, brother of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the network.

Following the capture of Kabul, Anis Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani and brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the current head of the terrorist group and one of three deputy leaders of the Taliban, has been negotiating with Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council, comprising former President Hamid Karzai, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Hizb-e-Islami political and paramilitary group, and Abdullah Abdullah, the deposed administration’s chief peace envoy.

Senior Haqqani group leader Anas Haqqani speaks to Abdullah Abdullah, head of Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council in Kabul/ Image Source: VOANews.

On Thursday, after meeting the Haqqanis, Abdullah Abdullah had indicated publicly that the terror outfit would be overseeing security in the Afghan capital. He had said that the Haqqani network had provided assurances that they would “work hard to provide the right security for the citizens of Kabul.”

The Haqqani’s have reportedly restricted the movements of both Karzai and Abdullah.

Earlier reports suggested that the Taliban is currently holding talks to convince both Hamid Karzai and Abdullah to formally hand over power to the Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in the Presidential Palace in a staged event. Sirajuddin Haqqani is leading negotiations from Pakistan’s Quetta, where the Taliban’s council of leaders, the Quetta Shura, is based.

Khalil Haqqani, Anis Haqqani in-charge of Kabul

Besides Anis Haqqani, Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani is also leading negotiations with Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council for a “peaceful” transfer of power. The US Department of the Treasury designated Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani a global terrorist in February 2011, offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. He is also included on the United Nations terrorist list.

Khalil Haqqani, one of the most wanted terrorists, took a stroll in the new Kabul as Haqqani took control of Kabul.

One of the key figures of the Haqqani Network, Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, is responsible for the fundraising activities on behalf of the Taliban and provides support to the Taliban operating in Afghanistan.

Anis Haqqani, who was arrested in 2014, has played an important role in the Haqqani network’s strategy and fund-raising. Anis Haqqani is notoriously known for ordering murders, kidnappings etc., including his own girlfriend. In 2016, Anis Haqqani was sentenced to death but was released with his two commanders in 2019 in exchange for the release of two professors who were abducted while working for the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).

Later, Anis was flown to Doha, where he joined the political group of the Taliban. Currently, he is back in Kabul to lead the negotiations with Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council. Anis is currently second in command of the Haqqani network.  

Taliban’s ties with Haqqani is viotion of Qatar peace talks

The handing over of Kabul by the Taliban to the Haqqani network, according to many western intelligence officials, is in direct violation of Qatar talks in which the Taliban had promised the United States not to engage or allow the country to become a safe haven for foreign terrorists, such as Al-Qaeda.

With the Taliban entrusting Haqqani’s with the security of Kabul, apprehensions are being raised regarding the prospect of Al-Qaeda being welcomed back to Afghanistan, which would break promises made by Taliban leaders during diplomatic talks in Qatar with the US officials last year.

During the Qatar talks, the then US President Donald Trump had struck a deal with the Taliban in February 2020, where the group’s leaders had agreed not to allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including Al-Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.

The Haqqani Network

The Haqqani Network, an offshoot of the Taliban, is the Afghan Mujahideen group that emerged in the 1980s to wage ‘Jihad’ against the Soviet troops and later the US-led NATO forces. The terror outfit has more autonomy than other Taliban affiliates. However, lately, the network has become more integrated within the Taliban and coordinates closely with the terror outfit.

Sirajuddin Haqqani is also one of the Taliban’s deputy leaders and is the nephew of Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, the man in charge of overseeing security in the Afghan capital.

The Haqqanis hails from southeastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. The network has been accused of some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan, including the 2008 assault on the five-star Serena Hotel in Kabul, the 2012 attack on a US base in Khost, and the 2017 truck bombing near the German Embassy in Kabul that killed 96 people.

During the anti-Soviet “Jihad” in the 1980s, the Haqqanis were the firsts to welcome foreign Muslim fighters. They had hosted Osama Bin Laden, who trained in a Haqqani-run camp. When Osama Bin Laden formed Al-Qaeda in the 1990s, the two groups formed an association and evolved together.

The Haqqani Network and Al-Qaeda also ran joint training camps in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region after the US invasion, and according to expert Peter Bergen, the Haqqani Network also helped Bin Laden to escape Afghanistan when American forces were closing in on him during the Battle of Tora Bora in 2001.

According to a US Treasury Department report in January, the Haqqanis continues to have close links Al-Qaeda despite the Taliban assurances, and the network had also considered forming a joint unit with Al-Qaeda. However, the Taliban officials have denied any association with Al-Qaeda.

Despite evidence to the contrary, Joe Biden claims that Al Qaeda is ‘gone’ from Afghanistan

Joe Biden, in an attempt to justify the hasty withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan that facilitated the Taliban takeover, said, “Look, let’s put this thing in perspective. What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point, with al Qaeda gone? We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of al Qaeda in Afghanistan as well as — as well as — getting Osama bin Laden. And we did.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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