Highlights

  • Sirajuddin Haqqani - Interior Minister
  • Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani - Minister of Refugees
  • Abdul Baqi Haqqani - Higher Education Minister

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Explained: why Haqqani dominance in Taliban govt has raised eyebrows

Meanwhile, the Taliban have demanded that Haqqanis be removed from US blacklist. They say it violates the Doha Agreement.

The dominance of Haqqani Network – whose many members are UN-designated terrorists - in the new Taliban govt has created a sense of unease in the international community. 4 members of the group have been chosen as ministers in the new Afghanistan govt.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have demanded that Haqqanis be removed from US blacklist. They say it violates the Doha Agreement.

The appointment that has raised the most eyebrows is that of Sirajuddin Haqqani – 38-year-old son of the group’s founder Jalauddin Haqqani. Sirajuddin Haqqani, an UN-designated global terrorist since 2007, has been chosen as the new Interior Minister. FBI has put a reward of $ 10 million for information on him.

Other Haqqani members appointed as ministers are - Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani, the uncle of Sirajuddin, who has been appointed the Minister for Refugees, Najibullah Haqqani who has been appointed as minister of communication and Sheikh Abdul Baqi Haqqani who has chosen as the higher education minister.

Sheikh Abdul Baqi is the only Haqqani minister who is in not UN’s designated terrorist list.

The group’s founder Jalaluddin Haqqani became an active mujhaideen in 1970s. Trained in Pakistan, he was one of CIA’s trusted mujahideen against the Soviets. It is during this period that he is believed to have forged close ties with Pakistan’s ISI.

Jalaluddin ran guns and fighters for the jihad all through the 1980s from a base in North Waziristan,. This is also the time when he met Osama bin Laden.

Haqqani joined hands with the Taliban in 1995 and fought against the other armed groups in Afghanistan.

He became the Minister of Border and Tribal Affairs when the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996.

Pakistan gave him and the entire group safe haven in North Waziristan after they fled from Afghanistan following the ouster of Taliban by US and allied forces in 2001. It is reported that the Haqqanis ran a parallel govt from there - taxing people and making money off construction contracts and investments in real estate in the area. The United States often urged Pakistan to “do more” to eliminate the Haqqani Network.

Haqqani Network was central to Taliban’s re-grouping which began in 2003. Experts say much of Taliban’s success is due to the Haqqani group.

In May this year, a UN reported described Haqqani Network as ‘Taliban’s most combat-ready forces with a highly skilled core of members who specialize in complex attacks and provide technical skills, such as improvised explosive device and rocket construction’. The report also called the group the ‘primary liaison between the Taliban and Al-Qaida’. UN reports have also pointed to links between the Haqqani Network and Islamic State- Khorasan, the Afghan wing of the Islamic State.

The presence of a group believed to be closely linked to Pakistan in the new Afghanistan govt has caused disquiet among Indian security establishments.

According to some reports, the delay in govt formation by Taliban was due to disagreements between Taliban and Haqqani over ministerial berths. ISI chief Faiz Hameed’s trip to Kabul only added to speculations that Pakistan wanted to control Afghan govt by having more Haqqani members in the cabinet.

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