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Haqqani network denounced as terrorist organization

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 10th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In North Waziristan, a tribal area of Pakistan, the dreaded Haqqani network is a group aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda. The organization is considered one of the most significant threats to stability in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her intention clear to declare the network a "terrorist organization" to Congress last week.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Haqqani network is led by its influential leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani. According to intelligence sources, Siraj is the "name, the face" and the "guy with all the clout" in a group that has been a major problem for coalition forces along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

"He's very, very competent, a very capable leader who has really grown the network over the past five, six years," Jeffrey Dressler, a senior analyst with the Institute for the Study of War said.

Sirajuddin reportedly began turning the Haqqani Network into a "killing machine" in 2007. The network and is believed to have been the muscle behind a series of attacks.

A suicide bomb attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul in 2009 killed six people. A strike in June 2011 killed 12 at the InterContinental Hotel. A third was an attack on a military base near Kabul around 10 years after the September 11, 2001, attacks that left 77 coalition soldiers injured.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared in June 2009 after finishing guard duty at a combat outpost in southeastern Afghanistan's Paktika province, is believed to have been abducted by the clan, U.S. military officials say. It's believed that Bergdahl was handed over to the Haqqani network from the Taliban.

Sirajuddin have been blacklisted. In addition, he United States put a $5 million bounty on him shortly after the Treasury Department designated him as a supporter of global terrorism.

Clinton's intention to designate the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity would make it easier to pursue those who provide support for the movement.

Sirajuddin took control of the group from his father Jalaluddin Haqqani, who at one time was considered a U.S. ally because of his role organizing Afghan fighters in the war against the Soviets in the 1980s.

Along with Sirajuddin, Jalaluddin's son Nasiruddin and brother Ibrahim run the network's extensive financial operation. Badruddin, another son was reportedly killed last month in a drone strike. 

The Taliban denied reports of his death while other sources have confirmed the killing. Badruddin's death will "seriously alter" the daily operations, he said.

"Siraj will take a little more of an active role" as a result, "picking the slack in the meantime," Dressler said.

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