Introduction to The Haqqani Network
As much as the powers that be want everyone to believe that “terrorism” is a giant catch-all covering every group, the truth is that terrorist groups are extremely varied and unique. They can be massive groups like ISIS and smaller, localized cells. Regardless, one of the most effective ways to eliminate terrorist groups, control the spread of violent and extremist beliefs, and prevent future terrorism from proliferating is by studying groups and understanding them. This understanding allows folks from all walks of life a modicum of knowledge to best respond to any attacks and threats. Most people pay attention to the heavy hitters, but a group that needs more extensive study is the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Central Asian countries. This group is much less infamous than Al Qaeda or ISIS, but no less deadly.
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Brief History of The Haqqani Network
The Haqqani Network starts and ends with Jaluddin Haqqani and the radical Wahhabi doctrine he learned at the Dar-al-‘Ulam Haqqaniya Deobandi Madrassa. Hailing from a tribal area of Afghanistan with deep ethnic ties, Haqqani developed radical Wahhabi and Islamist beliefs in his youth and during his Ph.D studies at the Haqqaniya Mosque. Haqqani returned to Afghanistan in the early 1970’s after completing his Ph.D and developed relationships with Hezb-i-Islami and the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as he worked to actively undermine both the Shah and Afghanistan’s civilian government including Marxist parties and movements. Due to increasing pressure and pursuit from the Afghan government, Haqqani returned to Pakistan in 1978 but continued to build his Islamist connections and networks. These networks proved extremely useful when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics invaded Afghanistan.
The Haqqani Network began to develop more formally outside of Jaluddin Haqqani’s personal sphere when the Mujahedeen matured into a fierce resistance group. Working with the Mujahedeen, Haqqani became personal friends and allies with Osama Bin Laden and also courted the Central Intelligence Agency, Pakistan and wealthy Arab Gulf States for funding and support in his jihad against the USSR. This is a unique aspect that also makes the Haqqani Network exponentially more dangerous than the Taliban; while the Taliban and other Islamist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan work from fiercely loyal tribal bases and use local fanatics to dominate their countries, Haqqani developed his network to court support from Arabs and the West. After fighting the Soviets for a decade, Haqqani turned his attention away from insurgency and instead focused on international terrorism. This took the form of aiding Bin Laden, supporting the Taliban, and opening their coffers to foreign money and doctrines.