Washington: Pakistan-based Haqqani network,
blamed for this week`s attack on the American Embassy in
Kabul, is one of Afghanistan`s most dreaded and sophisticated
insurgent groups that has the backing of elements within the
Pakistani security establishment, according to a report.
Although the Haqqani network is officially subsumed under
the larger Afghan Taliban umbrella group led by Mullah Omar
and his Quetta Shura, the Haqqanis maintain distinct command
and control, and lines of operations, according to key
findings by the Institute for the Study of War, a
Washington-based independent think-tank.
Siraj Haqqani, the son of the famous anti-Soviet fighter
Jalaluddin Haqqani, is the current leader of the Haqqani
network. Siraj is more extreme than his father and maintains
closer ties to al Qaeda and other foreign extremists in
Pakistan, the report had said.
The group maintains a safe haven in North Waziristan in
Pakistan and across Afghanistan`s southeastern border. The
Pakistani Army has consistently refused to launch a military
operation in North Waziristan despite the presence of al-Qaeda
senior leadership, the report said.
"Elements within the Pakistani security establishment
continue to view the Haqqani network as a useful ally and
proxy force to represent their interests in Afghanistan. To
this end, Haqqani forces have repeatedly targeted Indian
infrastructure and construction projects in Afghanistan," said
the report which was released last year.
The most explicit comment to link the Haqqani network and
Pakistani establishment came yesterday when America`s top
diplomat to Islamabad Cameron Munter said the US has evidence
linking the Pakistan government to the terror network, which
was behind the attack on the American Embassy in Kabul.
"Let me tell you that the attack that took place in Kabul
a few days ago, that was the work of the Haqqani network.
"And the facts, that we have said in the past, that there
are problems, there is evidence linking the Haqqani network to
the Pakistan government," he said.
The network was able to expand beyond Loya-Paktia towards
Kabul from 2005 to 2006, providing the network with the
ability to execute attacks in the Afghan capital, the report
From 2008 to 2009, the network launched an offensive
aimed at strengthening their positions in Loya-Paktia, while
projecting suicide bombers into Kabul to launch some of the
most lethal attacks of any insurgent group in Afghanistan.
Until recently, US and coalition troops lacked sufficient
forces to reverse the momentum of the Haqqani network. But an
increased drone campaign by the US against senior Haqqani safe
havens in North Waziristan has disrupted the network`s ability
to plan and execute operations.
Despite recent progress, Haqqani network operations can
regenerate if not continually pressured, the report warned.