The Dangerous Haqqani Network
- 9 May 2014 by Author 0 Comments
The Dangerous Haqqani Network
By Jonathan R. Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 05/04/14
During its short history, the United States has gained some very powerful allies; it has also acquired powerful and determined enemies. There are individuals, organizations, networks, and nations that seek to harm and destroy the United States and all it stands for. The organization that should be of utmost concern to the nation is the Haqqani Network.
The Haqqani Network is a terrorist organization that supports, funds, arms, and harbors known and recognized terrorists and criminals that are wanted by the United States. They are powerful, great in numbers, influential, and have many dangerous capabilities. However, what is most threatening about the Haqqani Network is the fact that they have a personal motivation for harming and killing Americans. Because of their affiliations, the United States has harassed the Network with drone strikes and has used diplomatic pressure on other nations to use militaristic action against them. The Haqqani Network is, and should be considered by all Americans, the most dangerous, threatening, and effective organization on the planet to the United States.
The Haqqani Network’s origins are born in the toils of war and revolution. The leader and founder of the Haqqani Network is Jalaluddin Haqqani. In the late 1970s, Haqqani was a member of the extreme anti-Soviet resistance group known as Hizb-i Islami. During the time that the Afghanistan government was controlled and supported by the Soviet Union, the Hizb-i Islami and other like-minded hard-lined Islamic tribes fought the Soviet Union military following their invasion in 1978.
Haqqani’s influence and power grow over Afghanistan-Pakistan borders due to his great success in combatting the Soviet military. During this time, Haqqani lead a large militia, held strong influence over other tribal groups, and also maintained strong ties to very powerful foreign agencies. Because of the interests of the Pakistani and United States government in quelling Soviet expansion and influence in the region, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) organization not only maintained close communication with Haqqani, but also funded him and sent arms to him to fight the Soviets.
Haqqani is also known to have been allied with al-Qaeda radicals such as Osama bin Laden, who also had close ties to Pakistan’s ISI. In the early 1990s, as Taliban forces and influence in the region swelled, Haqqani joined forces with the Taliban in 1995. Haqqani quickly became a high-ranking leader in the Taliban movement when he was given leadership of the Taliban’s military with the intent of seizing Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul. Haqqani and his Taliban fighters seized control of Kabul in 1996. Jalaluddin’s son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is now currently leading the Haqqani Network due to the aging and the decline in health of Jalaluddin.
The Haqqani Network, both under the control of Jalaluddin and his son Sirajuddin, hold strong beliefs in radical Islamic teachings. Sirajuddin calls himself a “khalifa,” or an Islamic leader that strictly follows and abides by Islamic teachings and law (Dressler 2010). The Haqqani family shares the same beliefs as al-Qaeda and Taliban in the fact that they seek to enforce Sharia Law in the Islamic nations. Sharia law is a holy or religious law that originates from the teachings of Islam. Sharia law strictly abides by the teachings of Islam in regards to dress codes, family requirements and obligations, nutritional and dietary laws, economic policies, and even hygienic laws. Whereas the majority of these laws would be considered a moral and/or personal choice in other countries, it is considered the law of the land under sharia law. In some Arabic nations, sharia law actually has its own police force that is separate from other law enforcement ministries or agencies to enforce the spiritual law.
The original goals and objectives of the Haqqani Network were to eradicate the Soviet Union influence and military presence on Afghanistan and its sitting government in the late 1970s and 1980s. Today, the Haqqani Network and the Taliban seek to eliminate any foreign nation’s influence in an Islamic nation or country. The Soviet Communists were seen as “infidels” and godless people. The United States and its allies that currently hold a presence in Afghanistan are seen in the same light and are also viewed as enemies of Islam. Their overall goal is to eliminate Western influence on social, political, economic, and educational systems in Afghanistan and any Islamic nation. They believe their cause is considered a “jihad,” or holy struggle that Islamic men and women are obligated to devote themselves to.
The United States of America is doing what they can with the tools at hand to disrupt their operations at the source: North Waziristan. With tensions on the rise between the United States and Pakistan in regards to the Haqqani Network, a major event can and probably will take place. If the Pakistani government gives in to U.S. pressure to use force against them, the Haqqani Network may, out of a show of desperation, execute a major attack on a massive scale. If matters worsen in Afghanistan or ties between Pakistan and the U.S. become more strained than they already are, it will only embolden the Haqqani Network giving them more strength and power.
The United States Intelligence Community must be on high alert at all times to combat this organization while continuing to utilize its UAV strikes and all other tools that are accessible. In all aspects, the Haqqani Network is and will be America’s greatest and most capable enemy in the War Against Terror.
The most viable course of action that not only the United States, but the NATO, ISAF, and other Arabic and Southwest Asian nations should take, is international pressure. It is of absolute certainty that the Haqqani Network operates in the North Waziristan province in Pakistan. The Pakistani government cannot and does not deny this. International pressure creates a two-pronged frontal attack that would see successes in Afghanistan and the entire region.
Where Pakistan is a nuclear power in the world they cannot be bullied by militaristic threats from the United States or the United Nations. However, Pakistan does receive financial funds on an annual basis from the United States, and if America were to pull those funds while also garnering support from allied nations to cut trade, business, and military advancements then the Pakistani government may be more willing to open the gates to discussions on how to eradicate the Haqqani Network in the country.
The Haqqani Network, because of their funding, leadership, motivation, and secrecy, is among the greatest exogenous threats facing America. The USA will need to continue to lead the world in extirpating and mitigating the threat that this organization poses around the globe.
Jonathan Larsen is a 2008 graduate of Century High School and is currently serving with the U.S. Army’s 95th Chemical Unit based in Anchorage, Alaska. He is the son of Richard and Terry Larsen of Pocatello. Jonathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.