Some of the top Taliban leaders have met in Afghanistan to discuss the formation of a new Afghan government, including representatives of the Haqqani network, the most ruthless and feared militants in the country.
The Haqqani have been held responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in recent years, which have claimed the lives of civilians, government officials and foreign forces.
Despite its reputation, this group described as a terrorist in the United States must play an important role in the regime of the Taliban, who seized power last week in Afghanistan.
Who are the Haqqani?
The group was formed by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who became known in the 1880s as a hero of the anti-Soviet jihad. It was then considered a valuable CIA resource when the United States and its allies, such as Pakistan, allocated money and weapons to the Mujahideen.
During that conflict and after the Soviet withdrawal, Jalaluddin Haqqani sought to establish relations with foreign jihadists, including Osama bin Laden.
Later he allied with the Taliban who seized power in Afghanistan in 1996 and served as minister of the Islamist regime until it was deposed in 2001 by a coalition led by the United States.
The death of Jalaluddin Haqqani after a long illness was announced by the Taliban in 2018, and his son Sirajuddin became head of the network.
Thanks to their financial and military might, and their reputation for ruthlessness, the Haqqani network is considered semi-autonomous within the Taliban.
Based primarily on eastern Afghanistan, with alleged bases along the border in northwestern Pakistan, the group gained prominence in the Taliban leadership in recent years, and Sirajuddin Haqqani He was appointed deputy leader of the movement in 2015.
His younger brother Anas, who was sentenced to death by the previous Afghan government, has had talks with former President Hamid Karzai and former government negotiator Abdullah Abdullah since the takeover of Kabul.
Why are they so feared?
The Haqqani network is accused of being behind the bloodiest attacks on Afghan and coalition forces.
It is considered a terrorist group by the United States and is subject to United Nations sanctions.
The Haqqani they have a reputation for using kamikazes, and they know how to carry out complex, casualty attacks, especially against military installations.
The network is accused of multiple murders – including an attempt against former President Hamid Karzai in 2008 – of kidnapping Western officials and citizens, to obtain ransom payments or to force prisoner exchanges.
They are also under suspicion of maintaining relations with the Pakistani army, which the defeated Afghan government has always accused of trying to destabilize Afghanistan.
US Admiral Mike Mullen described the Haqqani as a “true arm” of the Pakistani secret services in 2011.
The Haqqani network has contributed a lot to the victories of the Taliban, of which they are “the forces most ready to fight” according to a UN report published in June. In this report, the armed group is described as the “main link” between the Taliban and the Al Qaida network.
What is your role in the new Taliban regime?
The Haqqani must play an important role in the Taliban government. Two of its leaders are currently present in Kabul while the formation of the new executive is debated.
The fact that Sirajuddin Haqqani is number two of the Taliban confirms this relevance, according to several analysts.
Sirajuddim Haqqani and his uncle Khalil – who led prayers last Friday in Kabul – are wanted by the United States, which is offering several million dollars for information leading to their capture.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.