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Haqqani Network promotes suicide, IED attacks, and ambushes in ‘Caravan of Heroes’

An up-armored vehicle is flipped in a Haqqani Network IED attack.

The Haqqani Network promoted suicide bombings, IED attacks, and ambushes that targeted Coalition and Afghan forces throughout eastern Afghanistan in a video that was recently released on Voice of Jihad, the official news outlet of the Afghan Taliban. One of the suicide bombers likely was a Uigher from China.

The video, which is titled ‘Caravan of Heroes’ and was published on April 5, was produced by Manba al Jihad Studio, the media arm of the Haqqani Network, a subgroup of the Taliban that is closely linked to al Qaeda. Manba al Jihad Studio has released other Haqqani Network productions on Voice of Jihad in the past, including a video of a Haqqani training camp in 2011, a video that detailed the 2012 suicide assault on Forward Operating Base Salerno, and the confirmation of the death of Badruddin Haqqani in 2013.

The video includes footage from al Qaeda propaganda. One piece of footage shows a convoy of jihadists in Afghanistan, and banners used by both al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The Taliban claimed that the video “clearly lifts the veil and exposes enemy lies which claim that IEDs only cause civilian casualties and do not cause fatalities to their soldiers.” The Taliban are sensitive about yearly United Nations reports that routinely place the deaths of about 80 percent of civilian casualties at the feet of the Taliban.

The bulk of the lengthy, 61 minute and 55 second video focuses on ambushes and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in the provinces of Kunar, Laghman, Wardak, Paktia, Paktika, Khost, and Ghazni. The IED attacks targeted both mounted and dismounted troops. IED clearance teams were targeted heavily; IED clearance vehicles as well as individuals attempting to disarm IEDs are struck multiple times.

Afghan police and military personnel in armored and unarmored vehicles are also heavily targeted. The Haqqani IED teams often select lightly armored vehicles in police and military convoys. The blasts are often so massive that up-armored vehicles are sent careening through the air.

The jihadist cameramen routinely record the aftermath of the attacks to capture the recovery operations. In one instance, the jihadists opened fire on a military ambulance as Afghan troops were loading a casualty from the attack.

The video ends with two suicide attacks against military bases in Wardak and Paktika. A suicide bomber who was identified as Fadhil Shaheen drove a small van into a base in Wardak. Another suicide bomber, identified as Jabir al Turkistani, drove a large truck packed with explosives into a base in the mountains in Pakitka. The massive detonation of the second attack is captured on video.

Jabir al Turkistani is likely a foreigner from Central Asia, possibly from China, as the ‘al Turkistani’ nom de guerre is often used by Chinese Uighers.

The suicide bombers were likely directed by Qari Zakir, who is also known as Abdul Rauf. Zakir serves as the Haqqani Network’s director of suicide operations in Afghanistan. The US government added Qari Zakir to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists in November 2012. [See LWJ report, US adds Haqqani Network suicide operations chief to list of global terrorists.]

The Haqqani Network has actively recruited foreign fighters to carry out attacks in Afghanistan in the past. In 2012, Mullah Sangeen Zadran, the Taliban’s shadow governor for Paktika who also was a senior military commander in the Haqqani Network, called on Turks and Kurds to wage jihad in Afghanistan. [See LWJ report, Senior Haqqani Network leader again calls on Turks, Kurds to wage jihad in Afghanistan.]

The Haqqani Network was listed by the US as a terrorist organization in 2012. More than a dozen Haqqani Network leaders have been listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists; most of them have been directly tied to al Qaeda. In October 2010, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the Haqqani network was part of “an unholy syndicate of terrorist groups working together …”

“Al Qaeda, the Haqqani network, the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban and groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba. A success for one is a success for all,” Gates said. [See Threat Matrix report, Gates: ‘A success for one is a success for all’.]

Haqqani Network video:

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

View Comments (8)

  • Haqqani and Taliban are separated by their totally divergent campaigns, Haqqani, that is Pakistan Taliban create hatred for Afghan Partisans in Pakistan by their narrow sectarian agenda attacking Pakistan Nationals for some spurious belief that the Mahdi will help them create their dominance of the entire Pakistan Nation, mad as hatters.
    ISI supports individuals for information and criminal businesses.
    Taliban is funded through different sources entirely, if it weren't for PT , Taliban would have won the war already.

  • James...

    That's a nonsense invention -- since the IED is uniquely crafted by the fanatics out of materials laying around -- like 155mm artillery rounds, from Saddam's own depots -- or ANFO from Pakistani sources. (take your pick)

    The actual, and implemented, solution is sniper over-watch.

    Chris Kyle [American Sniper] was performing just such a tasking most of the time he was in Iraq. For movie purposes, those missions were never portrayed -- being insufferably dull.

    What the opfor never wants to reveal is just how many of their IED crews have been shot to pieces while in the act of placing said mines. The number is very, very, high -- as by their mission -- they are repeat offenders and become 'fingered' / profiled -- by computer database.

    In one case that was detailed (in the LWJ, IIRC) an enemy sapper team was shot up by long range rifle. The locals rushed out of their huts in the middle of the night to protest the resulting fatalities: an old man and a young (popular) kid. It was pointed out that their bodies were lying right on top of their 'handiwork.' It is a fact that the opfor always includes young boys in their 'field operations.' So you just have to accept that enemy combatants can start at any age.

    ( Rather like the Hitler youth 'soldiers' at the end of WWII -- which ranged all the way down to eight and nine years old! These die hard 'troopers' were often the only ones left fighting. The opening sequence from The Bridge at Remagen portrays just such an event, common knowledge to WWII GIs. )

    The answere is in: the perfect counter tactic to IED placement is a patient sniper. One simply has to have the stomach to shoot the inevitable child soldier.

    [ Child soldiers are epic in the Congo. In that war zone, virtually all the combatants are teenage boys. In primitive societies, such 'manning' is deemed normal. This was replicated in Somalia -- Black Hawk Down -- with teenagers used as cannon fodder, hence the astounding opfor losses.]

    • @Blert,

      Blert, thanks for the response and clarification.

      “That’s a nonsense invention — since the IED is uniquely crafted by the fanatics out of materials laying around — like 155mm artillery rounds, from Saddam’s own depots — or ANFO from Pakistani sources. (take your pick)”

      Maybe you missed my point. Allow me to clarify. We need to focus a whole lot more on the detonators. Also, this is not literally an ‘invention’ per se, but is more of a strategy implementation proposal. I make the assertion again that the ‘key’ to those devices are in fact the detonators. This isn’t a matter of either ‘A’ or ‘B’. It can be both A and B. My proposal may be viewed as a possible complementary strategy.
      I prefer not to go into too much detail here. We all need to be well-aware of the constraints of OS (OpSec) on this matter.

      I will present you with a perfect example. It is common knowledge that many of the detonators are triggered by such common electronic items as cell phones, garage door openers, etc. If we could surreptitiously interdict and alter those items in the FOP (field of operations) we could literally discover where the IED’s are placed and even time their detonations. In addition, we could glean a wealth of intel on the entire IED (or terrorist) networks.

      I would like to especially focus on cell phones. It is my understanding that due to the dominance of the American marketplace over the global economy, that all cell phones manufactured have the ability to dial 9-1-1 in emergencies (it’s just that in other countries where that option is not available the feature is not enabled). Now, (wouldn’t this be a lesson in ‘poetic justice’,) imagine if we could develop a technique to surreptitiously alter and manipulate that feature set (for combat zones like Iraq and/or Afghanistan, etc.).

      “The actual, and implemented, solution is sniper over-watch.”

      Blert, with all due respects, I believe the ‘sniper over-watch’ implementation was just an ad-hoc (or, ‘quick-fix’) attempt to at least buttress (but not solve) the problem.

      “Chris Kyle [American Sniper] was performing just such a tasking most of the time he was in Iraq. For movie purposes, those missions were never portrayed — being insufferably dull.”

      Blert, thanks for bringing up Chris Kyle, a true American soldier and hero that we should all be pushing to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, I might add. I agree with you that in wars like Afghanistan and Iraq sharpshooters would be sorely needed. However, I disagree that such a strategy implementation would suffice with respect to fully countering the IED threat, even though it would certainly be better than doing nothing at all. From my knowledge on the matter, at least many (if not most) of those IED’s are set in the dead of the night. Snipers are a ground-based asset and it would be highly impractical, if not outright impossible, to expect to have that many snipers effectively covering that much territory.

      “What the opfor never wants to reveal is just how many of their IED crews have been shot to pieces while in the act of placing said mines. The number is very, very, high — as by their mission — they are repeat offenders and become ‘fingered’ / profiled — by computer database.”

      I agree with you at least in principal with the above statement, though I’m not so sure about the effectiveness of the ‘computer database’ assertion.

      “In one case that was detailed (in the LWJ, IIRC) an enemy sapper team was shot up by long range rifle. The locals rushed out of their huts in the middle of the night to protest the resulting fatalities: an old man and a young (popular) kid. It was pointed out that their bodies were lying right on top of their ‘handiwork.’ It is a fact that the opfor always includes young boys in their ‘field operations.’ So you just have to accept that enemy combatants can start at any age.”

      You make valid points in the above paragraph. But, notice with my ‘solution’, who is going to know that when those IED’s start blowing up in the faces of their builders whether or not we were behind it or that the resulting explosions were a direct result of the IED’s being mishandled by their handlers?

      “( Rather like the Hitler youth ‘soldiers’ at the end of WWII — which ranged all the way down to eight and nine years old! These die hard ‘troopers’ were often the only ones left fighting. The opening sequence from The Bridge at Remagen portrays just such an event, common knowledge to WWII GIs. )”

      I absolutely agree with you on the comparison of the effectiveness of the propaganda. The material that the Taliban and IS are now putting out would make both Hitler and Goebbels envious.

      “The answer is in: the perfect counter tactic to IED placement is a patient sniper. One simply has to have the stomach to shoot the inevitable child soldier.

      [ Child soldiers are epic in the Congo. In that war zone, virtually all the combatants are teenage boys. In primitive societies, such ‘manning’ is deemed normal. This was replicated in Somalia — Black Hawk Down — with teenagers used as cannon fodder, hence the astounding opfor losses.]”

      Yes, it may be at least a partial or interim solution. By a longshot, it’s certainly better than doing nothing at all. However, I honestly feel that my proposal at least deserves a careful and considerate appraisal.

    • "Child Soldiers" are also "epic" in many Industrialized Nations like the USA & Brazil to mention a couple. So what manner of 'Matrix(Plan)' would you 'overlay' to 'interrupt' an IED? Rural & or Urban.

    • Blert...

      Good idea. All we have to do is place snipers along the thousands of miles of roads in Afghanistan. Seems legit to me. It is a good concept when you're in the fix/finish stage, but first you must find these dudes and their bombs. As luck has it, we often find them with our legs or vehicles. Your simple fix to this issue is certainly not an "actual, and implemented solution" seeing that a solution generally solves a problem and we are no where clear of this problem. I guess you're speaking a bit of nonsense as well.

  • "IED clearance teams were targeted heavily; IED clearance vehicles as well as individuals attempting to disarm IEDs are struck multiple times."

    Like I've been saying for years now, once those devices have been planted and activated you are literally 'going against the current' or beating against the wind in trying to undo them.

    I posted many many times on the old military.com messageboards during the heat of OIF that what was needed to counter the IED threat was a strategy (a parallel strategy) more than anything else. This is a case of 'fight fire with fire' if there ever was one.

    I posted about "REIED's" (or, 'reverse-engineered' IED's) that were designed (or altered) to 'prematurely' detonate in the hands of their Taliban or AQ handlers. A perfectly timed example would be right at the instant they are planted and/or activated.

    It's too bad that my suggestions were seemingly ignored, or were they?

    • In continuance of my above post (I left out a few important details), it would appear to me at least that the 'key' to these devices is not the type or explosive yield, but is in fact the detonator. Due to the constraints of 'OpSec', I will not got into much further detail on this.

      For example, a 'parallel-attack' strategy would be to surreptiously reverse-engineer the detonators (so as to cause them to prematurly detonate at the intended activation point).

      Concerning this "Voice of Jihad" website, my question is, why hasn't this website (as well as the operators of it) been eliminated? Whether you are a soldier (in Ft. Hood) or a runner (in Boston), these people are a direct threat to our right to exist.

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