The US Treasury Department has targeted two senior leaders of al Qaeda and the Haqqani Network, designating them as global terrorists. The al Qaeda commander ran a training camp in Pakistan; and the Haqqani Network commander, a brother of the network’s leader, has helped raise funds for the terror group as well as supported al Qaeda.
Today under Executive Order 13224, the Treasury added Said Jan ‘Abd al Salam, an al Qaeda leader, and Khalil al Rahman Haqqani to the list of specially designated global terrorists. The designation allows the US to freeze the assets of the two senior leaders, prevent them from using financial institutions, and prosecute them for terrorist activities.
Said Jan ‘Abd al Salam
Salam is an Afghan national who “has provided funds to the Taliban and al Qaeda and has facilitated training and weapons acquisition for al Qaeda,” the US Treasury Department statement said.
In 2005, Salam ran a “basic training camp for al Qaeda in Pakistan,” and “in addition, he hosted individuals who sought to participate in weapons and explosives training and al Qaeda indoctrination.” While the Treasury did not specify where Salam’s camp was located, al Qaeda is known to have operated 157 camps in northwestern Pakistan as of the summer of 2008. Many of those camps were located in North and South Waziristan and in Pakistan’s other tribal agencies.
Two years later, he served as an “al Qaeda commander’s primary assistant and facilitator and was tasked by an al Qaeda commander to procure weapons.”
Salam also served as a financier for al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and other Pakistani terror groups. In 2007 and 2008, Salam transferred “thousands of dollars” to Taliban fighters operating in Wardak province. And in 2009, he “transferred funds to members of a Pakistani extremist group for al Qaeda.”
Khalil al Rahman Haqqani
Khalil is a brother of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the patriarch of the Haqqani Network, and the uncle of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network’s operational commander.
Khalil has served as a key fundraiser, financier, and operational commander for the Haqqani Network, a Taliban subgroup that operates in eastern Afghanistan and is based in Pakistan’s tribal agency of North Waziristan.
In September 2009, Khalil traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to raise money for the Haqqani Network. Khalil has also raised money “from sources in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China,” although it is unclear if he traveled to all of those countries.
In his capacity as an operational commander, Khalil has aided and “acted on behalf of” al Qaeda’s military, or the Shadow Army. In 2002, Khalil deployed men “to reinforce al Qaeda elements in Paktia Province, Afghanistan.” In 2010, Khalil also “provided funds to Taliban cells in Logar Province.”
And although it is not stated in the Treasury designation, Khalil is a member of the Miramshah Regional Military Shura, one of the Afghan Taliban’s four regional commands.
Pakistan reportedly detained Khalil late last year, but US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that Khalil is actually in protective custody.
Khalil is the third member of the Haqqani Network to have been added to the list of specially designated global terrorists. Siraj Haqqani was designated by the Treasury Department as a terrorist in March 2008; and in March 2009, the State Department put out a bounty of $5 million for information leading to his capture. US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that Siraj is a member of al Qaeda’s top council.
Nasiruddin Haqqani, Khalil’s nephew, was placed on the terrorist list in July 2010. Nasiruddin is a key financier and “emissary” for the Haqqani Network, and also 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.
The Haqqani Network has extensive links with al Qaeda and the Taliban, and its relationship with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has allowed the network to survive and thrive in its fortress stronghold of North Waziristan. The Haqqanis control large swaths of the tribal area and run a parallel administration with courts, recruiting centers, tax offices, and security forces. In addition, the Haqqanis have established multiple training camps and safe houses used by al Qaeda leaders and operatives, as well as by Taliban foot soldiers preparing to fight in Afghanistan.
The Haqqani Network has been implicated in some of the biggest terror attacks in the Afghan capital city of Kabul, including the January 2008 suicide assault on the Serena hotel, the February 2009 assault on Afghan ministries, and the July 2008 and October 2009 suicide attacks against the Indian embassy.
The terror group collaborated with elements of Pakistan’s military and intelligence service in at least one of these attacks. American intelligence agencies confronted the Pakistani government with evidence, including communications intercepts, which proved the ISI’s direct involvement in the 2008 Indian embassy bombing. [See LWJ report Pakistan’s Jihad and Threat Matrix report Pakistan backs Afghan Taliban for additional information on the ISI’s complicity in attacks in Afghanistan and the region.]