Pakistan has over the years hotly contested concerns of the United States and Afghanistan about growing sway of the militant Islamist Haqqani Network (HQN) in the trouble-torn Af-Pak region, saying the “terrorist group’s influence has been damaged”.
Pakistan has over the years hotly contested concerns of the United States and Afghanistan about growing sway of the militant Islamist Haqqani Network (HQN) in the trouble-torn Af-Pak region, saying the “terrorist group’s influence has been damaged”. However, the truth appears to be otherwise.
The HQN’s clout has seemingly not become insignificant in the region, nor has Pakistan “stopped supporting the militant group”, which was branded a terrorist outfit by the United States in 2012 for fighting against its forces in Afghanistan.
A just-declassified US intelligence cable claims Pakistan’s spy agency ISI paid the insurgent group $200,000 to fund a 2009 suicide bombing in Afghanistan, which was the deadliest attack on a CIA base in a quarter-century.
The heavily redacted document was put on the George Washington University’s website by the National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute at the academy.
The HQN has thrived on illicit drug trafficking and kidnapping for ransom to keep its terror network growing in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The revelations emerged through a series of secret cables from January 11, 2010 and February 6, 2010, analysed by the National Security Archive team.
The State Department documents of 2008 to 2010 – recently obtained by the think tank in response to a Freedom of Information Act request – offer a peek into a transitional period for the organisation, before America declared it a terrorist outfit and the US Treasury labelled Haqqani leaders as ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorists’ in 2014, subjecting them to sanctions.
The documents underscore the group’s efforts to diversify its funding away from the foreign sources it relied on during the Cold War, including the CIA and Pakistani intelligence, and towards more traditional criminal activity.
They highlight squabbles over sharing of ransom money, dispersal of funds to suicide bombers, financial links between the HQN and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai government and Taliban funding for the group’s activities.
A slew of cables from January 11, 2010 and February 6, 2010 also claim that the ISI still provides some financial support for Haqqani attacks, including $200,000 for the 2009 strike at the CIA’s Camp Chapman facility.
The Haqqanis import “the precursor chemicals used to process raw opium into morphine base and heroin, including lime, hydrochloric acid and acetic anhydride (AA).”
Kidnapping for ransom, however, remains a way for unpaid militants to make money, says a cable, while donations, fundraising continue to be vital.
“As of mid-February 2009, the Hadika ta Uloom madrassa in Dera Ismail Khan, PK was facilitating financial support for the Haqqani Network (HQN),” says a declassified document.
“The leader of the mosque, Maulawi din Mohammad (Khalifa), was facilitating contact between HQN commanders and local businessmen willing to donate money and assistance to the HQN.”
The five businessmen contacted, all from the oil industry, provided a total of $17,000. The HQN’s complicated relationship with the Afghan government, and its payoffs, are also highlighted in a cable from August 31, 2010. It explains how a security manager in Khost province, Qabool Khan, simultaneously provides the HQN intelligence on US bases in Salerno and Chapman, while supplying the group with money and vehicle licence plate numbers of military personnel and contractors serving at the two facilities.
He obtained employment with the company, which posted private guards on US bases, through Mahmoud Karzai, brother of thethen Afghan President.