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Afghan War News > Insurgency > The Haqqani Network

The Haqqani Network is the most powerful faction of the Taliban
and now enjoys considerable power within the current regime.

News Reports about the Haqqani Network

November 13, 2023, "A Network of Possibilities: How the Haqqani Network Changed the Face of Global Terrorism Forever", by Apurv Ramakrishnan, Georgetown Security Studies Review.

January 10, 2022, "Afghanistan's Most Dangerous Threat", by Melissa Skorka, Foreign Affairs. Why America can't take on the Haqqani Network alone.


The information below was archived as of August 2021 with the
fall of the Afghan government and rise to power of the Taliban.

The Haqqani Insurgent Network in Afghanistan

The Haqqani network is an insurgent group based in Pakistan and Afghanistan that can trace its beginnings back to the 1970s.  On the Afghanistan side of the border it operates mostly in southeastern Afghanistan - specifically in Paktia, Paktika, and Khost provinces.  It is one of the three major insurgent groups fighting ISAF and the Karzai regime.

History.  The foundations of the Haqqani Network can be traced back to the 1970s.  During the 1980s the group fought against the Soviet army that occupied Afghanistan.  It was a beneficiary of weapons, equipment and money from the United States (by way of the CIA), Pakistan (by way of the Inter Services Intelligence), Saudi Arabia and other countries.  It's base of operations against the Soviets was from the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan. Once the Taliban captured Kabul Jalaluddin joined the radical Islamists and became the minister for borders and tribal areas.  When the US and the Northern Alliance overthrew the Taliban in 2001 the Haqqani Network was one of the first insurgent groups to strike back; once again using the North Waziristan area of operations as an operating base.

Leadership.  The principal leader of the group is Jalaluddin Haqqani; now over 70 years old. Jalaluddin is a Jadran tribesman from Afghanistan's Paktia province.  His roots extend across the border into Pakistan as well. Much of the day-to-day operation of the group has passed to his sons - Sirajuddun (or Siraj) and Badruddin Haqqani.  1. 

Organization of the Haqqani Network.  The group is hierarchical in nature but operates in small semi-autonomous fighting units at the tactical level. The group is made up of hundreds of core members and several thousand fighters. The group has a large logistical base comprised of businesses to include trucking and warehouse firms.

Operations.  The Haqqani Network conducts a variety of operations to raise money to include smuggling, extortion, racketeering, kidnapping, and collection of illegal taxes. The network owns large amounts of property both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  It operates by means of bribery, threats, and military action to achieve its business, criminal, and military objectives.  The network has a steady supply of recruits from the Afghan refugee camps found in Pakistan and the conservative Islamic madrassas in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Zadran Tribe.  Many of the Haqqani members come from the Zadran tribe found in Khost and Paktia.  Learn more about the Zadran Tribe here on WikipediA.  Also spelled Jadran or Dzadran.

Alliances.  In addition to being supported and working closely with the Pakistan ISI and military, the Haqqani also have close relationships with the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist and insurgent groups.  One of Jalaluddin Haqqani's wives was an Arab; a marriage that possibly allows for the forming of links with jihadists from the Arab world.

Shadow Government.  The network has established a shadow government that operates in areas where the Karzai regime does not.  Many times this shadow government exists under the noses of the Afghan National Security Forces or in conjunction with Afghan governmental leaders (through bribery or threats).  The intent is to have a government ready to take over in the three provinces once the central government falls.

Pakistan.  The Haqqani Network was heavily supported during the Soviet occupation by the Pakistan intelligence service (ISI).  Pakistan continues to support the Haqqani Network - despite its denials. 3.  It is believed that Pakistan views the Haqqanis as a tool to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan and as an instrument of Pakistani influence over events post-2014 once ISAF withdraws. There are numerous reports citing ISI's support to the Haqqani Network. 4.

Books, Papers, Reports, and Publications about
the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan
(listed in chronological order, latest pub listed first)


Livermore, Douglas. "Pakistani Unconventional Warfare Against Afghanistan: A Case Study of the Taliban as an Unconventional Warfare Proxy Force", Small Wars Journal, February 4, 2014. The author provides a paper that shows the Taliban conquest of Afghanistan as doctrinal example of modern unconventional warfare where the Pakistanis employed a predominently indigenous force to overthrow the legitimate transitional government and installed a pro-Pakistani regime. Accessed here on February 5, 2014.


Grewal, Jayinder, The Haqqani Network, Master thesis for Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS., December 13, 2013.


Hanni, Dr. Adrian and Lukas Hegi. The Pakistani Godfather: The Inter-Services Intelligence and the Afghan Taliban 1994-2010, Offiziere.ch. Accessed here.

Lisa Curtis, "Combating the Haqqani Terrorist Network". Testimony before U.S. House of Representatives on September 13, 2012. (accessed here on The Heritage Foundation website on September 15, 2012).

Jeffrey Dressler, "The Haqqani Network: A Foreign Terrorist Organization", Institute for the Study of War, September 5, 2012.  Accessed here on September 13, 2012.

Gretchen Peters, "Haqqani Network Financing", Combating Terrorism Center (West Point, July 31, 2012).  Accessed here on August 2, 2012.

Jeffrey Dressler, "The Haqqani Network: A Strategic Threat", Institute for the Study of War, March 2012.  Accessed here on March 19, 2012.


Don Rassler and Vahid Brown, "The Haqqani Nexus and the Evolution of al-Qa'ida", Hamony Program, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, July 14, 2011.  Accessed here at USMA.edu on February 18, 2011.


Jeffrey Dressler, "The Haqqani Network: From Pakistan to Afghanistan", The Institute for the Study of War, October 2010.  Accessed here on March 19, 2012.

Waldman, Matt. The Sun in the Sky: The Relationship between Pakistan's ISI and Afghan Insurgents, Discussion Paper 18, Crisis States Research Center, June 2010. Posted on the Foreign Affairs Council website. Adobe Acrobat PDF file accessed here.


Thomas Ruttig, "The Haqqani Network as an Autonomous Entity", in Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field, ed. Antonio Giustozzi (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009).  Book is available on Amazon.com at this link Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field.

Sebastian Trives, "Roots of the Insurgency in the Southeast," in Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field, ed. Antonio Giustozzi (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009).  Book is available on Amazon.com at this link Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field.

Websites Related to the Haqqani Network

Haqqani Network.  WikipediA.

Haqqani Network.  GlobalSecurity.org.

Haqqani Network. The Institute for the Study of War.

Haqqani Network.  The New York Times.

Jalaluddin Haqqani.  The New York Times.

Sirajuddin Haqqani.  The New York Times.

Haqqani Network.  Tag Archives - Lawfare Blog.

Haqqani Network. Mapping Militant Organizations, Stanford University.

Videos about the Haqqani Network

January 3, 2012. The Secret War, PBS Frontline. A revealing look at the covert support for elements of the Taliban by the Pakistani military and its intelligence service, the ISI.

Photos about the Haqqani Network

"Americans Move Against the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan", by Tyler Hicks, The New York Times. Photos from an operation, called Operation Sword, into the Charbaran valley. Accessed here February 2012.

Graphics about the Haqqani Network

"Structure of a Terrorist Network", The New York Times, September 24, 2011.  Accessed here Feb 2012.

News Articles about the Haqqani Network

January 6, 2018. "Many Americans have never heard of the Haqqani Network, one of the world's most lethal terror groups", Los Angeles Times.

November 12, 2017. "The Haqqani Network: International Friends, Local Enemies", Small Wars Journal.

March 31, 2015. "Dangerous Afghan Taliban Network Prepares Return to Pakistani Sanctuary". Gandahara Blog. The HN returns to their homeland base in Pakistan after Pak army offensive concludes.

July 1, 2014. "Pakistan Declares War on Haqqani Network". The Diplomat. Pakistan has claimed it's going after the Haqqani Network. But will it reall?

June 8, 2014. "The ISI's Great Game in Afghanistan". The Diplomat. Pakistan's intelligence service will remain deeply involved in Afghanistan; likely to continue to support the Haqqani Network.

March 14, 2014. "U.S. Commander Says More Focus on Haqqani Militants". Radio Free Europe. The ANSF will spend more time countering the Haqqani Network's plans to disrupt the Afghan elections.

February 8, 2014. "At Pakistan's 'Tabliban U,' jihadists major in anti-Americanism". Fox News. A look at an Islamic seminary considered the ivory tower of terrorism.

February 7, 2014. "U.S. Won't Seize Taliban Ally's Cash". The Daily Beast.

February 6, 2014. "US freezes assets of three Afghan Haqqani militants". BBC News.

November 12, 2013. "Haqqani Network Financier Shot Dead". Radio Free Europe. Nasiruddin Haqqani, the son of Jalaudin Haqqani (founder of the Haqqani network), was killed November 10 while traveling in a car in Pakistan.

November 6, 2012. "U.S. Issues Sanctions Against Haqqani Network Commander". Radio Free Europe.

November 6, 2012. "Afghans say no negotiations with Haqqani Network". The Hill.

November 5, 2012. "The Haqqani Network's Trail of Terror". The Investigative Project on Terrorism.

November 5, 2012. "UN adds Haqqani network to Taliban sanctions list". BBC News.

November 5, 2012. "Designation of Haqqani Network Chief of Suicide Operations Qari Zakir". U.S. Department of State.

November 5, 2012.  United Nations adds Rauf Zakir and the Haqqani Network (HQN) to Sanctions List. UN Security Council.

September 16, 2012.  "The Haqqani Network: A Strategic Contention for the U.S. and Pakistan". The Washington Times.

September 15, 2012. "The Haqqani Network: Blacklisted". The Economist.

September 13, 2012. "You've been designated a foreign terrorist organization. Now What?" The Week.com.

September 7, 2012. "U.S. Blacklists Militant Haqqani Network". The New York Times.

August 1, 2012.  "Report: Afghan militants have mafia-like financing".  The Miami Herald.

February 24, 2012.  "Secret U.S. cable warned about Pakistani havens".  The Washington Post.

November 28, 2011.  "Militants Turn to Death Squads in Afghanistan".  The New York Times.

November 11, 2011.  "The Haqqani Network and the Threat to Afghanistan".  By Jeffrey Dressler, Foreign Affairs.

November 6, 2011.  "Why the Haqqani Network is The Wrong Target".  By Seth Jones, Foreign Affairs.

November 3, 2011.  "Smart Sanctions Against Individual Haqqani Leaders Instead of a Group-Wide Designation".  Lawfare Blog.

October 31, 2011.  "For Pakistan, Deep Ties to Militant Network May Trump U.S. Pressure".  The New York Times.

October 2, 2011.  "Top Haqqani Network leaders include Arab relatives". Threat Matrix - The Long War Journal.

October 1, 2011.  "Haqqani network senior commander captured".  CNN.

September 24, 2011.  "Brutal Haqqani Crime Clan Bedevils U.S. in Afghanistan".  The New York Times.

September 23, 2011.  "How the Haqqani Network is Expanding from Waziristan".  Foreign Affairs.

September 14, 2011.  "Haqqanis: Growth of a militant network".  BBC News.

July 19, 2011.  "The Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda".  AFPAK Channel.

May 29, 2011.  "Haqqani insurgent group proves resilent foe in Afghan war".  The Washington Post.

May 1, 2011.  "Costly Afghanistan Road Project is Marred by Unsavory Alliances". The New York Times.

January 7, 2010.  "Q&A: Afghanistan: Who are the Haqqanis?".  Reuters.

June 17, 2008.  "Old-line Taliban commander is face of rising Afghan threat".  The New York Times.

March 24, 2008.  "The Haqqani Network and Cross-Border Terrorism in Afghanistan".  The Jamestown Foundation.



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1. See the "wanted poster" for Sirajuddun Haqqani on the Rewards of Justice website where a $5 million reward is offered.  Accessed here February 2012.

2. For more on Pakistan's support of the Haqqani Network see "The Party's Over", Time Magazine, September 22, 2011.  Accessed here Feb 2012.

3. As early as 2006 ISI was identified as a supporter of militant and extremist groups operating in Afghanistan and elsewhere. See a BBC report that quotes a UK MoD think-tank paper published here on September 28, 2006.

4. For more on ISI support for Taliban see "Leaked NATO Report Alleges Pakistani Support for Taliban", Public Broadcasting System (PBS), February 1, 2012 available here.



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