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What is the Haqqani network? Who are they? What will this new organization bring to the terrorist network?

Interesting Article: US ambassador: Haqqani group behind Kabul attack By HEIDI VOGT and AMIR SHAH / Kabul published Wednesday, September 14, 2011

According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, US ambassador to Afghanistan alleged that a Pakistani-based organization by the name of "Haqqani network" was behind a well coordinated attack against the American embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul. The 20-hour insurgent attack was the first time insurgents had organized a complex assault against multiple parts in the Afghan capital. So what is the Haqqani network?

The Haqqani network is lead by Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani along with his son Sirajuddin Haqqani based out of Miranshah, North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. As of 2011, Haji Mali Khan was the senior military commander for Haqqani in Afghanistan.  Maulvi Haqqani rose to prominence and was recognized as a senior military leader, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. After the fall of the Soviets, the Taliban took de facto control of Afghanistan and Haqqani accepted a cabinet level appointment from the Taliban as Minister of Tribal Affairs. After the fall of the Taliban by Coalition forces, the network became active in Afghanistan's southeastern areas of Paktia Province, Paktika Province, Khost Province, Logar Province, and Ghazni Province. They are thought to have about 4,000 to 12,000 Taliban under their command while a 2011 report from the Combating Terrorism Center places its strength roughly at 10,000-15,000. The network also supplies much of the potassium chlorate used in bombs employed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. In addition, it is well known that the network's bombs use more sophisticated remote triggering devices than the pressure-plated activators used elsewhere in Afghanistan. Sirajuddin Haqqani told MSNBC in April 2009 that his fighters had, "acquired the modern technology that we were lacking, and we have mastered new and innovative methods of making bombs and explosives." The network also maintains old links with Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan's army has been reluctant to move against them for many years. Pakistan regards the Haqqanis as an important force for protecting it's interests in Afghanistan in the event of American withdrawal and therefore have been unwilling to move against them. This stems from their paranoid belief that a stable Afghanistan is a 'Pro-India-Afghanistan', which would put their main enemy-India-on either side of their borders. An effort to mediate between the Haqqanis and the Afghan government was launched by Pakistan after intense pressure by the US to take military action against the group in North Waziristan. According to a July 2011 report published by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center, the network acts as a key facilitator of negotiations between the Pakistani government and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and as the "primary conduit" of many Pakistani Taliban fighters into Afghanistan. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (the TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, is an umbrella organization of various Islamist militant groups based in the FATA, along the Afghan border in Pakistan. The organization came together in December 2007, when about 13 groups united under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud to form the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Among the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan's stated objectives, resistance against the Pakistani state, enforcement of their interpretation of sharia and a plan to unite against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, is at the forefront of their movement. Many of the TTP's leaders are veterans of the fighting in Afghanistan and have supported the fight against the NATO-led ISAF by providing soldiers, training, and logistics. The TTP differs in structure to the Afghan Taliban in that it lacks a central command and is a much looser coalition of various militant groups, united by hostility to the central government in Islamabad. In its original form, the TTP had Baitullah Mehsud as its amir, and he was followed in the leadership hierarchy by naib amir, or deputy, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and then Faqir Mohammed. The group contained members from all of FATA's seven tribal agencies as well as several districts of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), including Swat, Bannu, Tank, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohistan, Buner, and Malakand. Some 2008 estimates placed the total number of operatives as 30–35,000. In 2008 Baitullah Mehsud met with Ayman al-Zawahiri in South Waziristan. Prior to this meeting the Pakistani Taliban answered to the Afghan Taliban and pro-Pakistan militant commanders. At the time Pakistani authorities believed that Mehsud was in fact an al-Qaeda operative.  Baitullah Mehsud, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, and Maulavi Nazir agreed in February, 2009 to form a Shura Ittehadul Mujahideen (SIM), also translated as Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahideen and translated into English as the Council of United Mujahedeen. In a written statement circulated in a one-page Urdu-language pamphlet, the three affirmed that they would put aside differences to fight American-led forces and reasserted their allegiance to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden. In August 2009 a missile strike from a suspected U.S. drone killed Baitullah Mehsud. Sources then reported that fighting broke out during a shura meeting between Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman. By the end of August 2009, leading members in the TTP had confirmed Hakimullah Mehsud as its second amir. Government and some Taliban sources told media that Hakimullah Meshud was killed in January 2010 by injuries sustained during a U.S. drone attack, and unconfirmed reports from Orakzai Agency stated that Malik Noor Jamal, alias Maulana Toofan, had assumed leadership of the TTP until the group determined how to proceed. Currently the leadership is made up of  Omar Khalid (Mohmand Agency), Waliur Rehman Mehsud (South Waziristan), Faqir Mohammed (Bajaur), Wali Muhammad (Appointed head of TTP in Wana and son of Nek Muhammad (Killed in June 2004)). The leaders have continually made appearances over the last couple of years, On August 26, 2011 an interview with Wali-ur-Rehman (Wali Ur-Rehman Mehsud) (aired on Al-Arabiya TV) threatened to "wreak vengeance" on the U.S. and NATO (especially France and Britain) with "an attack greater than 9/11. Faqir Mohammed claimed responsibility for a July 4, 2011 attack on a paramilitary checkpoint and for similar attacks in June 2011 on several border villages in Bajaur. During a radio broadcast Mohammed stated, "Our fighters carried out these two attacks from Afghanistan, and we will launch more such attacks inside Afghanistan and in Pakistan." The TTP have also claimed responsibility for some major attacks; the Pakistani government implicated the network in the December 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the December 30, 2009 suicide attack on CIA facilities in Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan (the bombing was the most lethal attack against the CIA in more than 25 years. Seven CIA operatives, including the chief of the base, and an officer of Jordan's Genera Intelligence Directorate were killed, and six others were seriously wounded when the attacker detonated a bomb he was carrying) as well as the attempted bombing in Times Square in May 2010(two days later federal agents arrested Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistan-born resident of  Bridgeport, Connecticut. Shahzad had received bomb-making training from the Pakistani Taliban. Shahzad told interrogators that he was "inspired by" radical Anwar al-Awlaki to take up the cause of al-Qaeda. In a video, later released, that was made before the attempted May 1 attack; Shahzad was dressed in traditional and tribal Pashtun clothing and was seen sitting with an assault rifle. In his message he praised Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in August 2009, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of al-Qaeda in Iraq). With the Haqqani Network's ability to provide support for forward operating organizations such as TTP, we see a new era in the Jihadist's movements, we are now seeing groups specifically banning together and providing resources to each other in order to attack us in Afghanistan, Pakistan, New York and even in bases that were not considered existent by our military. The Haqqani Network will be of major concern after our troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and with Pakistan's inability or lack of desire to confront this organization and go after it's leadership, we see the possibility of an enemy that is growing in stature and capability. 

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