Haqqani Network commmander killed in airstrike on Pakistan border

Special operations forces killed a senior Haqqani Network commander in an airstrike in Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. The commander was linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and served as the deputy of the top Haqqani leader in Afghanistan who was captured last week.

Dilawar, the Haqqani Network commander, was killed yesterday “during a precision airstrike” in the district of Musa Khel in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release. Two of his “associates” were also killed in the strike.

Dilawar was “a principal subordinate to Haji Mali Khan,” the Haqqani Network’s senior commander for Afghanistan and the maternal uncle of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the group’s operational leader. Khan was captured last week during a raid in Musa Khel.

As Khan’s “principal subordinate,” Dilawar “actively coordinated numerous attacks against Afghan forces and facilitated the movement of weapons” along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Dilawar also “facilitated the movement of foreign fighters and was associated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.” The Haqqani Network is known to work closely with both al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Most recently, in August, ISAF and Afghan forces captured a senior Haqqani commander in Paktia province who commanded a large group of fighters that included a significant number of “Uzbek foreign fighters.”

ISAF described the killing of Dilawar as “another significant loss for the insurgent group,” which has been in the crosshairs of Coalition and Afghan forces. In August, Major General Daniel Allyn, Commanding General of Regional Commander East, told The Long War Journal that the Haqqani Network is “enemy number one.”

“The Haqqani network and its safe havens remain a top priority for the Afghan and coalition force,” ISAF stated in today’s press release, noting that special operations forces have carried out 530 raids against the Network in 2001, resulting in 20 leaders killed and more than 1,400 fighters captured.

Earlier this week, ISAF stated that so far this year, 20 leaders have been killed, and 300 leaders and 1,300 fighters have been captured. It is unclear how many of those captured remain in custody. [See Threat Matrix report, US captures Haqqani Network facilitator who was previously in custody, for details on the detention policy for captive insurgents.]

Background on the Haqqani Network

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

The terror group has close 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 into 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. In the past, 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.]

Most recently, the US and the Afghan government have linked the Haqqani Network and Pakistan’s intelligence service to the June 2011 assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in and to the attack on the US Embassy and ISAF headquarters in September. Last week, Admiral Michael Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accused the Haqqani Network of being one of several “[e]xtremist organizations serving as proxies of the government of Pakistan.”

Over the past few years, six of the Haqqani Network’s top leaders have been added to the US’ list of specially designated global terrorists. All six commanders have close ties to al Qaeda. Those Haqqani network leaders designated as global terrorists are:

  • Siraj Haqqani, who also is a member of al Qaeda’s executive council. Designated as a global terrorist in March 2008.
  • Nasiruddin Haqqani, a key financier and “emissary” for the Haqqani Network. Designated as a global terrorist in July 2010.
  • Khalil al Rahman Haqqani, a key fundraiser, financier, and operational commander for the Haqqani Network who also aids al Qaeda. Designated as a global terrorist in February 2011.
  • Badruddin Haqqani, an operational commander who also aids al Qaeda. Designated as a global terrorist in May 2011.
  • Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a top military commander in eastern Afghanistan who supports al Qaeda’s operation. Designated as a global terrorist in August 2011.
  • Abdul Aziz Abbasin, a key commander in the Haqqani Network who is currently the Taliban’s shadow governor for Orgun district in Paktika province. Designated as a global terrorist in September 2011.

Jalaluddin Haqqani, who is the father of Siraj, Nasiruddin, and Badruddin and the brother of Khalil and brother-in-law of Khan, 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 that 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.

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  • Eddie D. says:

    Again good work soldiers. Pakistan is getting clearer and clearer in the scopes. Funny how more and more of these so-called Taliban leaders are dropping since Pakistan has been put in the frying pan.

  • jayc says:

    Just curious. I believe that “Haq” means righteous to the Afghans. Is the name Haqqani a surname, or is it a tribe much like the Mehsuds, or is it an areas name like the Wazirs? Anybody?

  • Soccer says:

    The Taliban deny he was killed, and claimed “the barbaric US invaders started shelling and firing rockets from a helicopter at villages, killing a total of 22 innocent villagers and wounding 14 more, meanwhile Mujahideen Of The Islamic Emirate had taken up positions and fired a salvo of RPG’s at the helicopter, of which 3 rockets hit the target and instantly exploded, crashing the helicopter to the ground and killing 24 US invaders and 10 of their puppets, the wreckage of which is still lying at the scene. 3 Mujahideen were also martyred in the enemy airstrikes afterwards. The Mujahideen later fired 19 mortar rounds off at a nearby enemy base from which the helicopter took off, killing dozens of US soldiers but the exact number at this time is not known.” —-END QUOTE

  • Environmentally Unfriendly says:


  • Charles says:

    served as the deputy of the top Haqqani leader in Afghanistan who was captured last week.
    Read more: https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/10/haqqani_network_comm_1.php#ixzz1ZvtBmaz9
    do Haqqani commanders face any consequences for giving up their deputies in the months and years after they are released back into the wilds of waziristan.

  • Mirage says:

    Another one down!

  • KaneKaizer says:

    Great, hoping we’ll get information out of Khan that will lead our drones to Siraj or even Jalaluddin Haqqani.

  • lex says:

    Haqqani is a historic family that faught the soviets and now fights coalition forces. There is a dad (Jalalludin) who is not as involved now but passed the leadership role to his son. It is an affiliate of Al Qaeda and a terrorist group that operates in Eastern Afghanistan and hides out in the Federally administered Tribal areas….Miram Shah is their stomping ground..but little by little they keep coming into afghanistan and we keep taking them out. Now if we could get Siraj, that would be a huge blow to the network. But unfortunatly he is protected by ISI…and until everyone realizes that…he will be almost untouchable.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    @soccer: One winter, shortly after Paul Bunyan dug Lake Michigan as a drinking hole for his blue ox, Babe, he decided to camp out in the Upper Peninsula. It was so cold in that there logging camp, that one evening, the temperature dropped to 68 degrees below zero. Each degree in the camp thermometer measured sixteen inches long and the flames in the lanterns froze solid. No one, not even Paul Bunyan, could blow them out.
    The lumberjacks didn’t want the bunkhouse lit at night, because they wouldn’t get any sleep. So they put the lanterns way outside of camp where they wouldn’t disturb anyone. But they forgot about the lanterns, so that when thaw came in the the early spring, the lanterns flared up again and set all of northern Michigan on fire! They had to wake Paul Bunyan up so he could stamp out the fire with his boots.

  • Soccer says:

    I’m sure you feel really good about yourself snidely pasting a fake story as a means to ‘one up’ me.
    I have debunked you as well as numerous other posters here before. I do not believe what I PASTE FROM OTHER FORUMS, and if Bill had a problem with it, the posts wouldn’t be approved.
    I’m sorry to break it to you the hard way ArneFufkin, but you need to come to terms with the reality that your opinions and negative postings toward me really don’t matter. They accomplish nothing and just because you have a problem with what I post doesn’t mean I will stop posting vital insurgent propaganda information. The only person’s opinion here who would really matter in this case is Bill’s, not yours.
    This information is vital and I will continue to paste it here so the readers at LWJ can get a peek at what comes out at the “other side”.

  • Jamila says:

    @ jayce:
    ‘Haq’ means ‘right’ [rights] not ‘righteous.’ Haqqani is the family name not the tribe name. It is not derived from the area they are from.
    The Haqqanis belong to a sub-tribe called ‘Zadran.’ Zadran, however, is derived from the name of a major city in (modern day)Paktia. Zadran is a sub-tribe belonging to the Sulaimankhel tribe. Zadran sub-tribe can be found in Paktia, Paktika, Khost and part of the tribal belt in Pakistan since all three of these provinces share borders with one another and with Pakistan’s tribal belt.
    I hope that helps…
    @ lex:
    I will add to your post by saying that Jallludin Haqqani is a legend in Afghanistan. He is known to have fought for his people. While many warlords fought one another for power, he is known to have been one who worked to protect his people in his region and fight against the Russian occupation. I think it’s important for us to realize this to fully understand why Sarajuldin Haqqani is where he is and why he gets away with so much. Had he been the average joe’s son he would not be able to have the people’s acceptance and support on either side of the border (Afghanistan-Pakistan) to the extent that he does. It’s his father’s name that has brought him where he is. It’s a shame he is known as a ‘warlord’ fighting for power while his father is known as a legend from the Soviet era. It’s too bad Jalal’s son couldn’t be more of an Afghan, and more of a hero like his father and protect his people instead of allying with al-Qaeda and others who harm the very people his father fought to protect; a real shame!!!


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