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.