Senior Haqqani Network leader captured in Khost


Click to view slide show of the Haqqani Network. Pictured is a composite image of Siraj Haqqani.

Coalition and Afghan special operations forces captured the brother of a top-level Haqqani Network leader during a May 13 raid in eastern Afghanistan.

The Haqqani Network commander was captured during a raid in the district of Zadran in Khost province. He is described as “a senior adviser for the insurgent network” who was “responsible for logistics and communications for a major portion of Haqqani operations” in Khost province, the International Security Assistance Forces stated in a recent press release. He also “recruited young men and suicide bombers for the Haqqani Network.”

The captured Haqqani Network adviser is “the brother of the third highest ranking Haqqani leader, and though not a commander or fighter, he was intimately involved with the Haqqani command structure and tactical operations,” according to ISAF.

ISAF did not provide the name of the captured adviser, but US intelligence officials familiar with the Haqqani Network and the raid told The Long War Journal that he is the brother of Jan Baz Zadran, who is considered to be the third in command of the Taliban subgroup.

Jan Baz Zadran is a powerful leader in the Haqqani Network. He considered to be the top aide to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the operational commander of the Haqqani Network. Jan Baz serves as the Haqqani Network’s logistical and financial coordinator, and also acquires weapons and ammunition for the network. He is one of the most-wanted Taliban commanders in Afghanistan.

Coalition and Afghan forces have been hunting top Haqqani Network leaders and fighters in the Afghan east. Between Jan. 1 and April 22, ISAF said it was “able to disrupt multiple planned attacks by targeting key Haqqani personnel.” Security forces killed or captured 15 Haqqani Network leaders and detained more than 130 fighters. “More than 90 of these captures were in Khost province,” ISAF stated in an April 22 press release.

Background on the Haqqani Network

The Haqqani Network operates primarily in the Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia, and Paktika, and also has a presence in Kabul, Logar, Wardak, Ghazni, Zabul, Kandahar, and Kunduz.

The terror group 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, a tribal agency in Pakistan. The Haqqani Network has also extended its presence in the tribal agency of Kurram.

In 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.]

Four of the Haqqani Network’s top leaders have been added to the US’ list of specially designated global terrorists over the past several years. Siraj Haqqani, who also is a member of al Qaeda’s executive council, was added in March 2008. Nasiruddin Haqqani, a key financier and “emissary” for the Haqqani Network, was placed on the US’ terrorist list in July 2010. Khalil al Rahman Haqqani, a key fundraiser, financier, and operational commander for the Haqqani Network who also aids al Qaeda, was added to the US’ list of terrorists in February 2011. Badruddin Haqqani, an operational commander who also aids al Qaeda, was designated as a terrorist on May, 11, 2011.

Jalaluddin Haqqani, the father of Siraj, Nasiruddin, and Badruddin, and the brother of Khalil, has not been added to the US’ list of terrorists, despite his close links to both the Taliban and al Qaeda. In an interview with Al Somood, the Taliban’s official magazine, Jalaluddin admitted he served on the Taliban’s executive council, which is known as the Quetta Shura.

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

Tags: , , ,


  • Max says:

    Better not turn him over the the Afghans; they’ll just take a pledge from him not to be a terrorist and let him go back to being a terrorist.

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    This guy should NEVER again be a free “man” he’s a murderer. If he lived in the US he would get life w/out parole. Keep up the good work.

  • Al says:

    Max, Why wait for him to be released? He will simply escape.
    How many escapees last time around? High value captures like this should go straight to Gitmo, after some immediate, tough interrogation by CIA or competent Afghans who no doubt have fewer restrictions on “technique”.
    Why not knock these guys out at night and then implant chips?

  • Jim says:

    Why is no one talking about the Chinese dimension of terror and insurgency eminating from both Pakistan and Iran. It is in China’s interest to keep the US pinned down in Iraq and Afghanistan. They want to bleed us and deplete our resources while studying iour tactics and technology. Both Pakistan and Iran have close relationships with China.
    Let’s be honest about China’s intentions.

  • kp says:

    One other note on this is the ISAF terminology:

    “the brother of the third highest ranking Haqqani leader, and though not a commander or fighter, he was intimately involved with the Haqqani command structure and tactical operations,”

    So the org chart from the bottom are:

    1. Fighter (i.e. rifleman)

    2. Commander (unit commander/officer)

    3. Leader (Executive officer)

    4. “highest ranking … leader” (clearly there are levels here)

    5. High Value Target (a charismatic leader, a “name”).

    You can see in using “commander” that it’s a fighting position so one has a problem with Jan Baz Zadran being described as a “high ranking commander” in a logistics group rather than a “leader”. That’s more consistent use of terms than anything else.

    Or is this more like the Soviet ideological structure with the “leader” being more similar to the political officer in a particular unit who runs it along side a “commander”. You could see that those who work their way up the system through fighting would have some interesting designation if they still appear in the field: are they commanders or leaders. Perhaps both.

    I’m sure if I spent more time reverse engineering the ISAF PR one might get a better grip on their “order of battle”. 🙂


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram