Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani (Pashto: جلال الدين حقاني) (1939 - 2014) was the leader of the Haqqani network, an insurgent group fighting in guerilla warfare initially against US-led NATO forces, and the present government of Afghanistan they support. He distinguished himself as an internationally-sponsored insurgent fighter in the 1980s during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, including Operation Magistral. By 2004, he was directing pro-Taliban militants to launch a holy war in Afghanistan. Within Pakistan, Jalaluddin had a cordial relation with Pakistan but he did not act against the TTP, earning controversy though Pakistan saw him as a strategic asset who could mediate between the various factions. Jalaluddin retains considerable local popularity on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and he is the most experienced Islamist leader in the region. Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars, claims that Haqqani introduced suicide bombing in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
Media reports emerged in late July 2015 that Haqqani had died the previous year. These reports were denied by the Taliban and some members of the Haqqani family.
Haqqani was born, the son of a wealthy landowner and trader, in 1939 in the village of Karezgay in the Zadran district of Paktia Province, Afghanistan, though the family later moved to Sultankhel. He is an ethnic Pashtun from the Zadran tribe of Khost. He undertook advanced religious studies at the Dar-al-'Ulam Haqqaniya Deobandi seminary in 1964 and was graduated with a doctorate which entitled him to the status of mawlawi in Peshawar in 1970. After King Zahir Shah's exile and President Daoud Khan rise to power in 1973, the political situation in Afghanistan was slowly beginning to change. A number of parties such as the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) and others were seeking power. Haqqani was one of them, and after being suspected of plotting against the government he went into exile and based himself in and around Miranshah, Pakistan. From there he began to organise a rebellion against the government of Daoud Khan in 1975. After the 1978 Marxist revolution by the PDPA, Haqqani joined the Hezb-i Islami of Mawlawi Mohammad Yunus Khalis. It was during this time that Haqqani began to build a relationship with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy network.
In the 1980s, Jalaluddin Haqqani was cultivated as a "unilateral" asset of the CIA and received tens of thousands of dollars in cash for his work in fighting the Soviet-led Afghan forces in Afghanistan, according to an account in The Bin Ladens, a 2008 book by Steve Coll. He reputedly attracted generous support from prosperous Arab countries compared to other resistance leaders. At that time, Haqqani helped and protected Osama bin Laden, who was building his own militia to fight Soviet-backed Afghanistan.
The influential U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson, who helped to direct tens of millions of dollars to the Afghan resistance, was so taken by Haqqani that he referred to him as "goodness personified". He was a key US and Pakistani ally in resisting the Soviet-backed Afghanistan. Some news media outlets report that Haqqani even received an invitation to, and perhaps even visited, President Ronald Reagan's White House, although the photographs used to support the allegation of such a meeting have cast doubt that Haqqani ever visited the US. (The pictures originally purporting to show this meeting are, in fact, of Mohammad Yunus Khalis.)
During the rule of Najibullah in 1991, Haqqani captured the city of Khost, which became the first communist city to fall to the Afghan resistance. After the fall of Kabul to the Mujahideen forces in 1992, he was appointed Justice Minister of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, and refrained from taking sides in the fratricidal conflict that broke out between Afghani factions during the 1990s, a neutrality that was to earn him respect.
Haqqani was not originally a member of the Taliban. In 1995, just prior to the Taliban's occupation of Kabul, he switched his allegiance to them. In 1996-97, he served as a Taliban military commander north of Kabul, and was accused of ethnic cleansing against local Tajik populations. During the Taliban government, he served as the Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs and governor of Paktia Province.
In October 2001, Haqqani was named the Taliban's military commander. He may have had a role in expediting the escape of Osama Bin Laden. Initially the Americans tried to woo him away from the Taliban. He refused their offers on the grounds that, as a Muslim, he was duty-bound to resist them, as "infidel invaders" just as he had the Soviets in earlier decades. With his base in Khost under repeated American air attack, it is believed that in November or December of that year he crossed the Durand Line border into the Waziristan region of Pakistan. Four Guantanamo detainees Abib Sarajuddin, Khan Zaman, Gul Zaman and Mohammad Gul—were captured and held because American intelligence officials received a report that one of them had briefly hosted Haqqani shortly after the fall of the Taliban. After the Karzai administration was formed in December 2001, in which many former warlords, mujahideen, and others took part, Interim-President Hamid Karzai decided to offer Haqqani a position in government but was rejected by Haqqani.
In 2008, CIA officials confronted Pakistani officials with evidence of ties between Inter-Services Intelligence and Jalaluddin Haqqani but the ISI denied the allegations. A September 2008 airstrike which targeted Haqqani, resulted in the deaths of between ten and twenty-three people. The US missile strike hit the house of Haqqani in the village Dandi Darpa Khail in North Waziristan and a close-by seminary. The madrasah, however, was closed and Haqqani had previously left the area. Haqqani has been accused by the United States of involvement in the 2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul and the February 2009 Kabul raids.
The success of the mujahideen fighters in the two-year Waziristan Conflict against the Pakistani para-military forces pressured the government to agree to the 2006 Waziristan Accord. In the absence of political will to confront militants with regular Pakistan Army units, a cease-fire agreement (allowing Taliban fighters to operate with impunity in Waziristan as long as Pakistani law is followed and the Taliban do not launch raids into neighboring Afghanistan) was reached. The local Taliban, identified by some as the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, appear to have been strengthened by the cease-fire agreement, as well as the release of some fighters detained by the Pakistani government at the start of hostilities.
Haqqani was the commander, with son Sirajuddin, of the Haqqani network, which is believed to be based in Waziristan, Pakistan. The network is made up of resistance forces waging a jihad against US-led NATO forces and the Islamic republic of Afghanistan. On 16 October 2011, "Operation Knife Edge" was launched by NATO and Afghan forces against the Haqqani network in south-eastern Afghanistan. Afghan Defense Minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, explained that the operation will "help eliminate the insurgents before they struck in areas along the troubled frontier". Both he and his son, Sirajuddin appear to have been the first Taliban to adopt the Iraqi tactic of using suicide bombers, and their network is accused of engaging in kidnappings, beheadings, the killing of women, and assassinations. George Gittoes, the Australian maker of Pashto-language films at his Yellow House in Jalalabad says Haqqani, who has befriended him, would be ready to support Ashraf Ghani in future Afghan elections.
Haqqani was fluent in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and his native Pashto language. He has at least seven sons:Sirajuddin Haqqani who assumed leadership of the Haqqani network after Jalaluddin Haqqani.
Badruddin Haqqani – younger than Sirajuddin. He was an operational commander of the network. He was killed in a US drone strike on 24 August 2012 in North Waziristan.
Nasiruddin Haqqani – He was a key financier and emissary of the network. As the son of Jalaluddin's Arab wife, he spoke fluent Arabic and traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for fundraising. He was killed by unknown assailants in Bhara Kahu, in the eastern part of the Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan, on 11 November 2013.
Mohammed Haqqani - Younger than Sirajuddin. He was a military commander of the network, and was killed in a US drone strike on February 18, 2010 in North Waziristan.
Omar Haqqani - The youngest son of Jalaluddin Haqqani. He was killed leading Haqqani Network fighters during a US military operation in Khost province in July 2008.
Aziz Haqqani - Younger than Sirajuddin, and senior member of the network.
Anas Haqqani - Senior member of the network. He was arrested on October 15, 2014 by the Afghan forces.