On Sept. 11, al Qaeda released a two-page eulogy for Jalaluddin Haqqani, a legendary jihadist who was one of Osama bin Laden’s first and most important allies in South Asia. The Taliban announced the elderly Haqqani’s death one week earlier on Sept. 4.*
Both al Qaeda and the Taliban emphasize Haqqani’s loyalty to the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which ruled over the country prior to the US-led invasion in late 2001 and the jihadists are currently fighting to resurrect. Despite being allied with the US and Pakistan during the war against the Soviets in the 1980s, Haqqani and his men became staunch foes of America – a fact celebrated by both the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Haqqani founded a network that is an integral component of the Taliban. His son and heir, Sirajuddin, is currently the Taliban’s second-in-command.
Al Qaeda’s eulogy, dated Sept. 6, is attributed to its “general command,” which is responsible for overseeing the group’s international network.
There were rumors that Haqqani had passed away some time ago, but the Taliban claims he died just recently, after battling long-term illnesses. Al Qaeda’s men write that they received the “news” along with the rest of the ummah, or community of Muslims around the globe.
Al Qaeda then provides some biographical details, explaining that Haqqani was born in 1939 in the Zadran district of Afghanistan’s Paktia province and “enrolled in religious schools” when he was just six years old. Haqqani learned how to recite the Koran and was educated in the “principles of Hanafi jurisprudence,” attending the Haqqania university. He was educated in the “sharia sciences” and learned Arabic, eventually becoming a professor and a religious leader.
But it was around the time he turned 25 years old that Haqqani’s jihadist career took off, according to al Qaeda’s general command. The group cites his early opposition to Muhammad Daoud Khan and Nur Muhammad Taraki. Then, when the Soviets invaded and occupied Afghanistan to bolster the communist government, Haqqani helped establish a “jihadist movement to resist the Russians.” He not only fought the Russians directly, suffering severe wounds, but also offered “his wealth and sons” to the cause.
Al Qaeda seemingly makes a mistake in its eulogy. The group claims that Haqqani spoke in front of President Ronald Reagan in the White House, praising Allah and then delivering an address “in his native language.” This is almost certainly a reference to a picture that surfaced showing a mujahideen commander in Reagan’s presence. But that photo reportedly shows another man, Yunus Khalis, and not Haqqani. Still, the press has repeated the claim that Haqqani personally visited the White House, which may be the source of al Qaeda’s confusion.
Praises Haqqani for supporting Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and opposing US
After the Soviets left Afghanistan, the mujahideen fought among themselves. But al Qaeda lauds Haqqani for avoiding the strife. When Allah allowed the “Islamic Emirate to rise” under the Taliban’s leadership, Haqqani “supported it, along with his brother, Sheikh Osama bin Laden.”
“They [Haqqani and bin Laden] pledged allegiance to it and called on the people and their leaders to pledge allegiance to it,” al Qaeda writes.
Haqqani was then appointed the head of the Islamic Emirate’s ministry in charge of the Afghan-Pakistani border, and was also named to the Taliban’s “shura council.” After the US began bombing Afghanistan post-9/11, according to al Qaeda, Haqqani played a key role in “sheltering” and “facilitating the departure of the families” of the immigrant fighters.
Al Qaeda says that the US “foolishly” entered Afghanistan, ignoring the lesson learned by the Soviets. And Haqqani was “determined” to oppose the Americans. Haqqani “decided to declare jihad…against the American enemy,” al Qaeda says in its eulogy. He “issued a directive to fight” alongside “his blessed brothers in the Islamic Emirate,” led by Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s founder and first emir. Haqqani “led a jihadist uprising” that continues to this day against the “Crusader NATO alliance,” which will “declare defeat and withdraw in disgrace from the land of Afghanistan.”
Al Qaeda honors Haqqani and his family for the sacrifices they made along the way, noting that numerous members of his family, including Haqqani’s “sons and grandchildren,” have perished or imprisoned. Still, Haqqani “remained loyal” to the “Islamic Emirate” until his death.
Al Qaeda addresses “our emirs in the Islamic Emirate”
In its eulogy for Jalaluddin Haqqani, al Qaeda specifically addresses “our emirs in the Islamic Emirate.” Al Qaeda’s general command praises Sirajuddin Haqqani, Jalaluddin’s son, saying that it takes “solace in the fact” that Sirajuddin is the “deputy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Emir of the Faithful” and is following in his father’s “footsteps.” Al Qaeda asks Allah to protect and guide Sirajuddin.
The Taliban’s “Emir of the Faithful” is Haibatullah Akhundzada. Al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, has sworn his allegiance to Akhundzada.
Addressing the “Emir of the Faithful and hadith scholar” Akhundzada, as well as other Taliban “emirs,” Al Qaeda vows to “stand firm” in its “loyalty,” following the same path as Jalaluddin Haqqani.
Therefore, al Qaeda’s eulogy underscores, once again, the group’s allegiance to the Taliban’s senior leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Other eulogies for Jalaluddin Haqqani
Other al Qaeda-linked groups and personalities have also honored Jalaluddin Haqqani. The Pakistani Taliban posted its own eulogy on its website and social media channels, offering its condolences to Sirajuddin and other Haqqani family members. The Pakistani Taliban’s statement is noteworthy, as the Haqqanis often harbored and collaborated with the group’s members, despite the fact that they often target the Pakistani state. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government, or elements of it, have continued to protect and collude with the Haqqanis.
Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a pro-al Qaeda ideologue, also posted a short remembrance on social media. Maqdisi praised Haqqani for supporting the Taliban and Mullah Omar while opposing the Afghan government, as well as the US. Maqdisi lauded Haqqani for embracing the Arab mujahideen, specifically mentioning that he harbored members of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s family in his home.
* Although the Taliban announced Jalaluddin Haqqani’s death on Sept. 4, FDD’s Long War Journal cannot independently verify the timing of his death. The Taliban covered up the death of its founder, Mullah Omar, for approximately two years, meaning skepticism is always in order when it comes to such announcements.
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