Haqqani Network facilitator arrested on plane bound for Saudi Arabia

Coalition and Afghan forces arrested a Haqqani Network weapons facilitator who was on an airplane destined for Saudi Arabia today.

The Haqqani Network facilitator, who was not named, was identified by “multiple intelligence sources,” the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release. The facilitator and three other companions, who also have not been named, boarded a plane to Saudi Arabia, which then took off. Afghan authorities ordered the plane to return to Kabul International Airport, where joint security forces detained the Haqqani Network operative.

ISAF said the Haqqani Network facilitator “was wanted for facilitating weapons and ammunition used in attacks against ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] and International Security Assistance Forces” and “was also known to have participated in numerous IED attacks against ANSF and ISAF.” One of the three others detained “had an active warrant issued by Afghan authorities.”

ISAF would not disclose why the Haqqani Network facilitator was traveling to Saudi Arabia; an inquiry sent by The Long War Journal was not answered.

A US military intelligence official contacted by The Long War Journal said that the Haqqani operative was traveling to secure funding for weapons purchases.

Top Haqqani Network leaders are known to routinely travel to Saudi Arabia to receive funds from wealthy Saudis who back jihadist activities worldwide. This group of wealthy donors is known as the Golden Chain.

Nasiruddin Haqqani, the brother of Haqqani Network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, is known to have traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates between 2004-2009 to carry out fundraising for the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.

“As of mid-2007, [Nasiruddin] Haqqani reportedly received funding from ¬≠donations from the Gulf region, drug trafficking, and payments from al Qaeda,” the US Treasury Department stated in a press release that announced Nasiruddin’s addition to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. “In 2004, he traveled to Saudi Arabia with a Taliban associate to raise funds for the Taliban.”

Nasiruddin is based out of Miramshah in the tribal agency of North Waziristan in Pakistan. He is known to speak Arabic and is also a close aide to his father, Jalaluddin, the patriarch of the Haqqani family.

The Haqqanis are closely allied to al Qaeda and to the Taliban, led by Mullah Omar. Siraj Haqqani is the leader of the Miramshah Regional Military Shura, one of the Afghan Taliban’s top four commands; he sits on the Taliban’s Quetta Shura; and he is also is a member of al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis. The Haqqanis are based on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • steve m. says:

    are we doing anything about the current golden chain? follow the money!

  • Charu says:

    Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are the prime funding source for the Taliban-AQ-ISI nexus. These states, ostensibly our allies, greatly aid and abet the terrorists who are attacking and killing our soldiers. Pakistani terrorist financiers like Dawood Ibrahim freely move back and forth between Dubai and Karachi. They are comfortable enough with their security to even hold public weddings and other social events in some of the Gulf States. While Iran is clearly a state sponsor of terrorism, so also are Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf States (notably Dubai), and Pakistan. And yet we continue to delude ourselves that they are our allies in the war on terrorism.

  • Chris says:

    Bill Roggio, how do you know he was specifically Haqqani?

  • blert says:

    The name ‘network facilitator’ entirely down plays the significance of the treasurer/bag man.
    ANYONE so entrusted has to be quite high in the organization.
    In our military scheme he’d be rated an S-4: logistics / supply — for the Taliban money is ordinance.
    The TIMING makes me believe that the Talibs are running into wage inflation now that the ‘insane’ — free spending Americans are out bidding them for local merc talent.
    This looks / smells like a last minute money run. It’s that time of the year. It’s also at a period of intense expenditure. For all of the ISI largesse, it has been critical for the balance of AQ – Talib power that the Arabs have an INDEPENDENT fount of funds.
    Only insiders can have any clue as to how this clown was fingered — but somehow his play came to the attention of the ISAF.
    Sometimes, even the good get lucky.
    Their thirst for funds has only become more intense as a result of this op. Perhaps we can get lucky, again.
    It is imperative to acknowledge that pure money is a HUGE factor in the fight. An astonishingly large part of the Talib ‘army’ are nothing more than teenage ‘mercs’ — living body bags/ bullet stoppers set up by their relatives/ step-fathers.
    Their women are harnessed for battle in the bedroom: shockingly large families produce a surplus of sons/ordinance.
    A case in point: twelve sons borne to ONE tribal lord! This level of reproduction permits weird social norms WRT combat losses. Namely, they don’t really care. To get at the core leadership it is necessary to get REALLY personal.
    Which is where the ISI is so handy: they thwart our attempts to end the ‘game’ that Islamabad is playing.
    From where Islamabad sits, the Pashtun are entirely expendable, man by man. No wonder they’ve hooked up with completely established drug lords as ‘insurgent leaders.’

  • Rhyno327 says:

    This is about money no doubt. Why send this guy? Some of it makes no sense. Why not come to P-stan? Why saudi arabia? yes money, but something is rotten here.

  • Bungo says:

    It’s “live captures” like these that could result in a boatload of useful intel. Good work !

  • Mofn says:

    I have a question. Why would a “faciliator” think it was all right/safe to just show up and fly out of the Kabul airport for S. A. (granted the plane was in the air before it turned around). Why did he not fly out of Pakistan, granted it is longer to get to, would he not have been safer? Does something not make sense here?

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Perhaps our operations in Helmand have seriously disrupted the narco trade that has financed the insurgency?


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