Haqqanis part of Taliban: Mullah Sangeen

Mullah Sangeen Zadran, the senior Haqqani Network leader who is also the Taliban’s shadow governor for Paktika province, granted an interview with Al Samoud, the Taliban’s official magazine. The interview was published in the December 2011-January 2012 edition, and has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. The interviewer asks Sangeen about the status of the fight in Paktika (Sangeen says things are going great and that the Taliban control many of the districts). At one point Sangeen is asked about the relationship between the Haqqani Network and the Taliban and the claims that the Haqqanis are a separate entity from the Taliban. Here is a portion of his response:

These claims are false and were devised by the enemies of Afghanistan, and their local agents, and they have no basis in truth.

Rather, it is a rumor war that the broadcast stations of the enemy and its media centers are waging.

I assure you with all confidence that all the mujahideen of the Emirate are united under the leadership of the Emir of the Believers Mullah Muhammad Omar, may Allah the Almighty preserve him, and he is the one who guides this battle in all the land, and his honest leadership is taking the jihadi movement towards the anticipated victory, Allah the Almighty willing.

Our enemies are in fear and panic from the existence of cohesion and unity in the ranks of the mujahideen of the Emirate, because they failed to destroy the power of the mujahideen and create divisions in their rank through the past ten years. In order to hide their failure and shame in this matter, they spread such rumors and they claim that the mujahideen are not under one leadership and that they are led by separate leaderships instead of just one leadership.

The truth of the matter is that such claims are false rumors from the enemy in its war against jihad and the mujahideen. The mujahideen, with grace from Allah the Almighty, are all one rank and one hand against the enemy, and they fight their enemy under the leadership of the Islamic Emirate.

Sangeen has been designated by the US as a global terrorist for his ties to al Qaeda and links to terrorist attacks. In September 2009, Sangeen granted an interview with As Sahab, al Qaeda’s media arm, in which he stated: “Al Qaeda and the Taliban all are Muslims and we are united by the brotherhood of Islam. We do not see any difference between Taliban and al Qaeda, for we all belong to the religion of Islam. Sheikh Osama [bin Laden] has pledged allegiance to Amir Al-Mumineen [the Leader of the Faithful, Mullah Muhammad Omar] and has reassured his leadership again and again. There is no difference between us, for we are united by Islam and the Sharia governs us.”

In past interviews, Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Siraj, the top two leaders of the Haqqani Network, have said the same thing about their place in the Taliban and their relationship with al Qaeda.

The US wants the Taliban to sever ties with al Qaeda as a condition for a peace settlement in Afghanistan. But the Haqqani faction’s place in the Taliban and their affinity with al Qaeda will prove to be a major obstacle. The Haqqanis and other Taliban commanders have been in bed with al Qaeda for years, and it is more than naive to believe that the Taliban will dump al Qaeda now, especially when the US and NATO have signaled that the vast majority of their forces are leaving Afghanistan by 2014, peace agreement or no peace agreement.

And as an aside, even if the US were able to broker a peace agreement with the Taliban, what makes the US believe the Taliban will abide by it? Just across the border, the Pakistani government has negotiated numerous peace agreements with the Taliban in the tribal areas and in Swat, only to have the Taliban break the agreements repeatedly over the years. Why do US officials believe that the Taliban just on the other side of the Durand Line – an artificial boundary that the Taliban do not recognize – will honor a peace deal?

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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  • J House says:

    Bill, you nailed it. All of these entities are one and the same and have the same long-term goals. The US govt. shades the truth by telling Americans there is no single command and control and top-down leadership.
    We should expect a run-up on targeted assassinations within the current Afghan govt. in the next 36 months. Like the ‘Vietnamization’ effort of the past under Nixon, we should expect the same results in Afghanistan. The Taliban will be in total control by 2015-2016, and it will again be a failure of U.S. poilitical will that put us there.

  • Eric says:

    Good points in this article. Post-2014 is being assessed for the survivability of the constitutional Afghan government only, protected by ANA and ANPF. How much US assistance and support will be required to withstand the Taliban onslaught that is sure to come? That was the calculated end-point for the USA. It falls far too short of the originating basis for the entire war in the first place: Deny safe-haven in Afghanistan to AQ and affiliates with terror-export agendas. The Taliban will never accept a constitutional government as the end-state. They want the whole thing back. AQ will definitely rally numerous Paki-based groups in support of the Taliban’s overt and covert actions to overthrow the Afghan government after the
    US drawdown progresses to a point where thay are able to re-infiltrate areas and amass sufficient fighters both inside the ANA and inside Kabul to make it do-able to pull the trigger. What other outcome is even barely believable? It needs ignoring for the political closure in the US to complete the drawdown. Once out, we are not putting our big force back in there – ever. Specwargru will have the football for as long as it lasts. AQ is active in Afghanistan now. That will only enlarge after 2014.

  • Devin Leonard says:

    What we need to do is stop all this foolishness about making peace with the Taliban and go back to hammering them. We need to explain to the dimwit Pakis why it is in THIER interest to have our drones back killing Taliban and Haqqani operatives and leaders like our friend Sangeen here…he needs a visit from a Reaper or from a Tier 1 unit:)
    If the Pakis don’t listen tell them we will stop giving them all those F-16’s they love so much, and the rest of the aid they are getting. We have leverage over the Pakis…it’s time to use it.

  • Paul D says:

    They all are ALL united in Islam/The Koran which teaches them to hate/kill Infidels.How can you negotiate with them when they believe they are followings Allahs wishes

  • Tim says:

    My question is: if Adm. Mullen is right and Haqquanis are arm of Paki army, what does this mean in terms of AQ & Haqquani alliance?
    It seems that the problem is Pakistan. Musharraf made a strategic decision to publicly Side w/ US in 2001, but army kept it’s options open. What do we need to do to Paki army to show them that that strategy is short-sighted? Talibs will not honor any peace agreements, but Pakis should have more at stake to force them to choke any post-2014 power grab.

  • mike merlo says:

    I certainly agree with “as an aside,” as for a ‘unified front’ combat operations conducted by ‘the front’ throughout 2012 & 2013 should reveal just how committed it(‘the front’) is to ‘itself.’

  • Saif Rehman says:

    Who is to gain or lose most from the Afghan situation? Pakistan. A nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people cannot afford to be destablised. Talk about the Afghan Taliban not keeping their word will seem like a game of softball in front of a Pakistan on the brink of disaster. The Americans are the ones who need to keep their word. The Pakistanis managed to get the Pakistani Taliban to the peace table, but it was the Americans who struck with their drones, killing the peace. Pakistan is back to war against the Pakistani Taliban. The Americans must keep their word and withdraw from the region by the timeline they’ve set. This will allow Pakistan to negotiate peace in Afghanistan. The Americans must not meddle, as any instability in Afghanistan affects Pakistan directly. The Atlantic serves as a good buffer for the US.

  • mike merlo says:

    re:Saif Rehman
    “…allow Pakistan to negotiate peace with Afghanistan,” why would Pakistan need to do this? For the same reason(s) Saddam picked a fight with Iran & got his arse handed to him? Of course Pakistan is an unstable nation & they have only themselves to blame. Let the Paki’s pull their own ‘coals(home grown terrorists) from the fire,’ & stop blaming everybody else for their leaders stupidity. ‘Everything’ Pakistan has engaged in since The Partition of 1947 has backfired. Maybe the Pakistani’s should start calling FATA & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa West Bangladesh!

  • Bengal Voice says:

    This Sangeen is quite Rangeen (“colorful” in Urdu).


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