Afghan Taliban condemn the killing of Nasiruddin Haqqani

The Afghan Taliban condemned the killing of Nasiruddin Haqqani, a top official in the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network who was gunned down yesterday in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The statement announcing the “martyrdom” of Nasiruddin was released today on the Afghan Taliban’s official website, Voice of Jihad. It was signed by “The Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the official name of the Afghan Taliban.

Nasiruddin served as a key financier and facilitator for the group. He also served as an “emissary” to al Qaeda, and often 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 [see LWJ report, US adds Haqqani Network, Taliban leaders to list of designated terrorists, for more details on Nasiruddin and his terrorism designation].

“It is with great regret that we have learnt about the martyrdom of Nasiruddin Haqqani (may Allah accept him), the elder son of the famous Jihadi and scholarly personality and member of Leadership Council of Islamic the respected Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani,” the Afghan Taliban said.

While the Taliban did not describe how Nariruddin was killed, they said he died “in a cowardly terrorist attack of the enemy ….” Nasiruddin was gunned down outside a bakery run by Afghans in the Bhara Kahu area of Islamabad. The unidentified shooters were riding motorcycles when they attacked him.

No group has claimed credit for killing Nasiruddin. The Afghan Taliban’s statement did not define the “enemy.” The Pakistani Taliban accused the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Pakistan’s military intelligence service, which backs the Haqqani Network, of executing the attack. But given the Haqqani Network’s relationship with the ISID, Nasiruddin is more likely to have been killed in an Afghan or US intelligence operation, by rival jihadist groups (the Haqqani Network is rarely involved in jihadist infighting), or by criminals.

The killing of Nasiruddin in Islamabad puts a dent in the narrative of the Taliban as well as the Pakistani government that the Haqqani Network is based in eastern Afghanistan and does not operate in Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban maintain this position in order to portray their jihad in Afghanistan as a nationalist fight and to protect their Pakistani backers. The Pakistani government and military maintain that the Haqqanis operate only in Afghanistan, in order to rebuff US and Western pressure to act against the group. The Haqqani Network is closely tied to al Qaeda and is one of the most effective jihadist groups operating in Afghanistan.

Haqqani Network is part of the Taliban

The Taliban’s statement is further confirmation that the Haqqani Network is a key part of the Afghan Taliban. In the past, Western officials have attempted to delink the Afghan Taliban from the Haqqani Network, as part of an effort to weaken the Taliban movement and divide the groups in order to negotiate a peace deal. While the Haqqani Network operates with a degree of autonomy in eastern Afghanistan, the group still falls under the command of the Afghan Taliban.

But the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network have publicly denied that the Haqqanis operate outside the aegis of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In a statement released on Voice of Jihad in September 2012, the Afghan Taliban addressed this issue head on.

The Taliban claimed in that statement that there is “no separate entity or network in Afghanistan by the name of Haqqani,” and that their overall leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is a member of the Quetta Shura, the group’s top leadership council.

“The honorable Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani is a member of the Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate and is a close, loyal and trusted associate of the esteemed Amir-ul-Mumineen [leader of the faithful, Mullah Omar] and those Mujahideen entrusted under the command of his sons are in fact the heroic Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate who like other Mujahideen strictly obey the esteemed Amir-ul-Mumineen and wage Jihad against the invaders throughout the country,” the Taliban statement said.

The Taliban also claimed that the Haqqani Network was created by the US as part of “its satanic plot” to divide the group.

“By employing its satanic plot, America is trying to create and black list a separate entity in the organized and unified rank of Islamic Emirate …,” the statement continued.

Haqqani Network leaders have also rebuffed claims that the two groups operate independently. In a 2008 interview with Al Somood, the Taliban’s official magazine, Jalaluddin outlined his role in the Taliban and said he was a member of the Quetta Shura. He also denied that his followers constituted a separate entity from the Taliban.

The Haqqani Network frequently releases its propaganda tapes and statements through Voice of Jihad and its leaders are often interviewed in Al Somood. The Afghan Taliban also issue martyrdom statements for slain top Haqqani Network leaders, such as Nasiruddin or Badruddin Haqqani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan in 2012.

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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  • Devendra says:

    What’s the difference between a Cobra and a Viper? They both are poisonous snakes. Haqqani Group and Taliban are one and the same and both have proclaimed so repeatedly.
    What I fail to understand is why the Drones have NOT been dispatched to take care of the “One Eyed Mullah” Omar. It is the worst kept secret that he lives in Quetta, Pakistan. love Bill Rogio to comment on it.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    That is easy. The US drone program is confined to the tribal areas, and as of the past several years, North and South Waziristan. To see this, look at the third chart:
    As I have argued numerous times in the path, the US gov’t believes that it can wipe out AQ/Taliban etc by just focusing on the tribal areas, but this is obviously wrong when you look at how the jihadist groups are embedded throughout Pakistan.

  • Edward says:

    So why doesn’t the U.S. just send Delta Force or Navy Seals to get him like they did with Bin Laden and Abu Anas al-Libi?

  • pre-Boomer Marine brat says:

    @Roggio “… when you look at how the jihadist groups are embedded throughout Pakistan”
    That conjures up an image of bearded al Qaida men as house guests of the Sharif brothers in Lahore, sitting around, drinking coffee, swapping stories.
    The scary part is, it’s not all that improbable.

  • gb says:

    It would have been a little more satisfying if he had vaporized in a cloud from a Hellfire strike…

  • VR says:

    I agree with your comments that US is just focusing on tribal areas whereas these group’s funding and support is acorss the length and breadth of the country.
    It takes more than just drones to eliminate or minimize the threat from these organizations. I, by no means discounting the importance of drones program. I think it calls for a comprehensive approach where
    1) Through covert action neutralize key leaders/persons.
    2) Identify any financiers and neutralize them.
    3) Identify and neutralize the logistics organizers and motivators.
    The entire supply chain should be dealt a blow. If you connect the dots, you can see first a poor kid is brain washed by so called mullahs and then handed off to a terrorit organization who then the give next level of training, then they are sent to the targets to blow themselves up.
    Would love to hear from you.

  • Alansaralhaq says:

    Mehsud rebukes Fazlullah talks of peace creating his own exit strategy is killed by the US in a drone attack.
    Fazlullah hiding out in Afghanistan appointed head, no drone or covert US mission against him given he is in Afghanistan?
    All peace talks are off thanks to USA.
    Now Naseeruddin Haqaani assassinated and has the hall mark of a foreign state covert hit.
    Does US want to speak with Afghan Taliban…
    Or elements in Washington pushing their own agenda.
    Pakistan in a perpetual state of war on serves one nations interest. An unstable Pakistan is catastrophic to Afghanistan, NATO and USA but foreign policy for Pakistan’s eastern neighbour.
    Join the dots and you will witness a major proxy offensive in The Great Game and at this juncture you do NOT want to support the interest of other foreign state players.
    Wake Up analyse and know exactly who is to be blamed.

  • Dave says:

    Operation Phoenix redux would work, but Carpet Bombing would send a more clear message.

  • AndrewC says:

    There are so many things wrong with Dave’s suggestion of carpet-bombing, that I wouldn’t know where to begin. Among the fundamentalist monsters, there are still innocents like Malala Yousafzai (and usually they’re the biggest victims). If a prison is taken over by rioting prisoners and they take the guards and administrators captive, you don’t bomb the prison. Not to mention the geopolitical consequences. To save face Pakistan would have to go to war with someone over that, and if they’re too scared to face us directly, they’d wage an even bigger shadow-war against our troops in Afghanistan and the Afghan government. They’d probably also use it as an excuse to attack India, because why waste a crisis?
    Drone-strikes are working fine. They get angry, but not enough to do anything. The monsters are killed while the innocents are spared, our supply-lines to Afghanistan are kept open, Pakistan does not lash out at anyone like a petulant child, and America keeps its moral high-ground.

  • MINT says:

    Taliban said he died “in a cowardly terrorist attack of the enemy …
    WOW… Terrorist who use suicide bombers and VBIED’s against civilians, calling someone else terrorist.
    Explain that BILL


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