The AfPak Reader

September 9, 2009

Mainlining Bill Roggio – Summer 2009 – Week 1 – Volume 6

Filed under: Enemy Profiles,Predator Strikes,Summer 2009 — huntingnasrallah @ 7:29 pm

Mainlining Bill Roggio – Summer 2009 – Week 1 – Volume 6

Senior Taliban leaders targeted in yesterday’s Predator strikes
By Bill Roggio
June 24, 2009 9:32 AM

Yesterday’s follow-on Predator attack at a funeral for a Taliban commander targeted senior Pakistani and Afghan leaders of the group. The death toll in the attack has jumped to 83, and two Taliban commanders were rumored to have been killed, although one commander targeted confirmed he was alive and an aide to another said the leader was not killed.

Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud; Qari Hussain Mehsud, a senior commander in Baitullah’s network; and Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a field commander in the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan, were targeted in the Predator attack in Pakistan’s lawless tribal agency of South Waziristan.

The attack took place in the Ladha region as scores of Taliban leaders and fighters were attending the funeral of Khwaz Ali Mehsud, a mid-level commander in Baitullah’s network. The initial attack on the funeral procession was followed up with strikes on Taliban vehicles as they attempted to flee the attack site.

Khwaz was killed in a Predator airstrike in Makeen earlier that morning. The attack killed five other low-level Taliban fighters.

Khwaz was “beloved” by Baitullah, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. The News described Khwaz as one of Baitullah’s “close and trusted commanders.” Senior Taliban leaders were expected to attend Khwaz’s funeral to pay their respects.

Reports from Pakistan indicated Sangeen and Qari Hussain may have been killed in the strike. But an aide to Sangeen said his commander was not in attendance. Qari Hussain spoke to the media and confirmed he was alive. Baitullah has not been reported killed, and he is thought to be in Mir Ali to sit out the military’s operation in South Waziristan.

Qari Hussain is a senior lieutenant to Baitullah, and is believed to be his successor. He runs suicide training camps in Spinkai, where he indoctrinates young boys between 9 and 12 years old. These children have been used to conduct some of the most deadly attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The military destroyed one of these camps during a brief operation in January 2008, but Qari reopened the camp months later.

Qari Hussain is also described as a leading ideologue for the Taliban. He has a large following among Arab, Uzbek, and Afghan fighters.

The Pakistani military claimed Qari Hussain was killed during the January 2008 operation in South Waziristan. But he later gave a press conference in Peshawar in which he mocked the military.

Sangeen, who is also known as Fateh, has been a major target of the US military in Afghanistan. He serves as a senior lieutenant and military commander to Siraj Haqqani in eastern Afghanistan. The US military said Sangeen planned and coordinated the movement of al Qaeda senior leaders and hundreds of their foot soldiers from Pakistan to Afghanistan through the Spreah district.

The US military targeted Sangeen one month ago during a raid on what was described as an “enemy encampment” in the Wor Mamay district in the eastern province of Paktika near the Pakistani border. US and Afghan forces fought a pitched battle at the Haqqani Network fort, which was reinforced with fighting positions, bunkers, and tunnels. During the assault, 29 Haqqani Network fighters, including six suicide bombers, were killed, but Sangeen slipped the net.

In December 2007, the US military reported that Sangeen was killed during a raid, but the US later found out he survived the attack. The US military had previously offered a $20,000 reward for information that could lead to his capture.

Extended Notes (Roggio & AfPak Reader Links)


SWA death toll rises to 83
Updated at: 1320 PST, Wednesday, June 24, 2009

PESHAWAR: More 12 injured in the US missile attacks in South Waziristan Agency succumbed to injuries raising the death toll to 83, Geo News reported Wednesday.

According to sources, the funeral prayers of extremist commander Khozhwali was being offered in native village of Baitullah Mehsud Shobikhel in South Waziristan Agency, when a US surveillance plane once more attacked with two missiles, killing at least 65 on the spot and injuring 60 others.

The missile attack targeted the hideouts of Baitullah Mehsud, where an important commander Qari Hussain and Commander Sangeen are reported to have been killed.

Commander Sangeen belongs to Afghanistan.

There are reports regarding the killings of other important commanders as well; however, no confirmed reports have been received thus far.

80 die as drones hit Baitullah’s hideouts   
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Senior militant commander among the dead; first-ever attack on militant leader’s hometown

By Mushtaq Yusufzai & Irfan Burki

PESHAWAR/WANA: About 80 people, including a senior commander of the Baitullah Mehsud-led militants, Khwaz Wali Mehsud, were killed and several others sustained injuries in two separate attacks by US spy planes on a suspected militant hideout and funeral prayers at Lattaka village of Ladha tehsil in South Waziristan Agency on Tuesday, private TV channels reported.

However, militant sources said the death toll in the two drone attacks was around 70-80.A US drone on Tuesday morning fired three missiles at a suspected militant hideout at Lattaka village, killing six militants, including senior Taliban commander Khwaz Ali. Khwaz Ali was said to be one of Baitullah Mehsud’s close and trusted commanders.

Five other people killed in the attack were said to be local tribal militants.Tribal sources said it was the first-ever attack by US spy planes on the Shabikhel area of South Waziristan — hometown of Baitullah Mehsud.

Seven other militants injured in the air attack were said to be low-level tribal militants.The house where the militants were holed up was destroyed in the missile strikes. Sources said two pick-up trucks parked outside the house were also damaged in the air strikes by US spy planes.

Tribal sources said rescue work for retrieving bodies of the slain militants and the injured people was started later as the drones were still hovering over the town even after the attack on the house. They said bodies of the militants and the injured people were retrieved later when the drones disappeared. According to sources, bodies of majority of the killed militants were badly disfigured beyond recognition.Later, when the militants and villagers offered funeral prayers of the deceased militants at the village graveyard, two more missiles were fired on the venue.

Sources close to the militants told The News that majority of the people after attending funeral prayers of the slain militant commander Khwaz Ali had started leaving the venue and few were there to have a final glimpse of the late Taliban commander when came under missile attack. They said two US drones all of a sudden appeared over the town and fired two missiles on the gathering killing over 60 people, majority of them militants.

A government official based at the nearby Razmak town in North Waziristan told The News by phone that thick smoke billowing out of the spot could be seen from distant villages.There were reports that senior militant commanders, including Baitullah Mahsud himself had arrived there to attend funeral of the slain militant commander Khwaz Ali.

Some reports said dreaded militant commander and master-trainer of suicide bombers Qari Hussain and prominent Afghan Taliban commander Maulvi Sangeen were also killed in the missile attack.

It could be a serious setback to Baitullah Mahsud and his network if Qari Hussain was really dead in the attack.However, sources close to Maulvi Sangeen Zadran denied his presence at the funeral.

He did not attend funeral of the people died in drone attack in South Waziristan. “Let me assure you he was not there and is safe,” said one of his close militant colleagues, but wished not to be named.

He said senior Taliban commanders had very earlier stopped travelling parts of South Waziristan especially after the government launched military operation against Baitullah Mahsud.Also, he claimed important militant commanders always avoid attending gatherings like funerals, marriage ceremonies and public meetings due to security concerns.

Sources in Makeen said the injured could not be shifted to hospitals outside the restive tribal region as all roads had been blocked by the security forces to stop infiltration of the militants.It is pertinent to mention that US drones targeted militant hideouts at a time when Pakistani security forces launched offensive against Baitullah Mahsud and his fighters in South Waziristan. The governmentís strategy this time seems different than the past.

The government on one hand is pounding militantsí positions by jet fighters and gunship choppers and on the other creating splits among the militants affiliated with Baitullah Mahsud.Third part of the government strategy is to seek support from resourceful Nato and US forces based in Afghanistan against the militants. The Tuesdayís two separate attacks by the US drones were said to be part of that strategy.



Pakistani Taliban: ‘Suicide bombers are the atomic weapons of Muslims’
By Bill Roggio
January 19, 2009 12:02 AM

Taliban commander Qari Hussain released a 40-minute propaganda tape showing statements of suicide bombers and the aftermath of their attacks inside Pakistan. The videotape was distributed by Taliban commander Qari Hussain during a press conference held in the provincial capital of Peshawar.

The press conference demonstrates that the Taliban feel they are not under a serious threat in the capital of the Northwest Frontier Province. The military has launched three operations to relieve the Taliban pressure on Peshawar, but the Taliban continue to encroach on the city.

The tape “shows men and youths, some apparently in their teens, addressing the camera about their intention to carry out suicide attacks to background music of Urdu-language militant anthems,” AFP reported.

The suicide bombers took credit for attacks against Pakistani security and intelligence forces, including the March 2008 double suicide attack on the headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore (26 killed and more than 160 wounded) and the September 2007 attack on an Inter-Service Intelligence agency bus and a military bazaar in Rawalpindi (25 killed, 68 wounded).

The suicide bombers all spoke Pashto, indicating they were from Pakistan’s Pashtun-dominated northwest, and said carrying out the attacks is their religious duty.

“I’m going to do this suicide bombing with Islamic sentiments,” a teenage suicide bomber named Masood who was involved with the Lahore attack said. “Suicide bombers are the atomic weapons of Muslims because Muslims do not have the latest weapons to fight enemies who are committing atrocities against Muslims in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Hussain encouraged Muslims to join the Taliban to wage jihad against the United States, Israel, and Pakistan. “Israel, America and Pakistan’s military are committing atrocities against Muslims so jihad has become compulsory for all Muslims,” Hussain said on the tape.

Hussain, who is based out of South Waziristan, is a senior deputy to Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and an ally of al Qaeda in Pakistan. He runs camps in South Waziristan that train children to become suicide bombers. Children as young as seven years old are indoctrinated to wage jihad in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a video taken at one of his camps in Spinkai showed.

The Pakistani military demolished Hussain’s suicide nursery during a short offensive against the Taliban in Spinkai in January 2008. The military launched a short operation after Taliban forces commanded by Baitullah overran two military outposts and conducted attacks against other forts and military convoys in the tribal agency.

The military seized numerous documents and training materials in the demolished camp. In May, a senior Pakistani general described the previous camp as a suicide “factory” for children.

The Pakistani military reported that Hussain was killed in January, based on intercepted Taliban communications. The military later reiterated that claim during the tour of the Spinkai camp on May 18, 2008.

Five days later, Hussain mocked the military during a press conference held at a government school building in South Waziristan. “I am alive, don’t you see me?” Hussain taunted.

Hussain rebuilt his child training camps in South Waziristan sometime in the spring or summer of 2008.

The Spinkai camp is one of 157 training camps and more than 400 support locations in the Taliban-controlled tribal areas and in the insurgency-infested Northwest Frontier Province. The Taliban control all seven tribal agencies and several settled districts in the province.
The Taliban and al Qaeda conducted 61 suicide attacks in Pakistan in 2008, resulting in 889 civilians and security officers killed and 2,072 more wounded.



Pakistani paramilitaries kidnapped in Kohat
By Bill Roggio
January 27, 2008 12:45 PM

The Pakistani military and the Taliban continue to battle in the tribal agencies of Orakzai and South Waziristan. While the Pakistani military spokesman is claiming success in Orakzai, more than 50 paramilitary troops from the Frontier Corps have been reported captured since the military moved in several days ago. The military is reporting success during operations in South Waziristan.


Fighting has been reported to be intense in the tribal agency of Orakzai. The clashes in Orakzai started on Jan. 25 after Taliban forces seized five trucks laden with supplies destined for forces in North Waziristan. The military moved in forces and cordoned the city of Darra Adam Khel, while the Taliban took over the Kohat Tunnel, a strategic link along the Indus Highway that connects Peshawar to the southern tribal agencies. The military declared a cease-fire in Darra Adam Khel on Jan. 26 while local religious leaders formed a peace jirga, or committee, to resolve the situation.

The Pakistani military has claimed at least 34 Taliban were killed during the opening round of the fighting, but has only reported two soldiers killed. Yet Pakistani news outlets are reporting Frontier Corps troops have been captured during two separate clashes. The Taliban abducted 14 Frontier Corps troops from a checkpoint in Kohat at the start of the battle, The Nation reported. “Locals informed [The Nation] that the militants had paraded the 14 hostages in a bazaar of Darra Adam Khel.”
Another 40 Frontier Corps troops were captured attempting to regain control of the tower at the peak of the Kohat Tunnel Mountain, The Frontier Post reported. “Eight Frontier Corps men were slaughtered, the sources further claimed, adding that local religious men were dragging [the bodies of the paramilitary troops] in the main bazaar to expose the heads of the beheaded personnel.” The Taliban are said to be wearing Army and Frontier Corps uniforms to conduct clandestine operations.

The military stated it has now recaptured the Kohat Tunnel. “After fierce fighting, the security forces have cleared the area of miscreants and are in control of Kohat tunnel and surrounding areas,” according to a military press release. “Reportedly 24 miscreants have been killed, many have fled leaving behind huge quantity of arms and ammunition.” No casualties were reported among the Pakistani troops.

South Waziristan

The Pakistani military launched an operation in South Waziristan on Jan. 24 after Taliban forces commanded by Baitullah Mehsud overran two military outposts and conducted attacks against other forts and military convoys in the agency during the past several weeks. The Pakistani military is claiming great success, with scores of Taliban killed or captured and low casualties on the Pakistani military side. The reporting from South Waziristan has been largely limited to reports from the Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistani military’s public affairs outfit.

“The miscreants have been evicted from Spinkai, Nawakali, Raghzai and Marghaband areas of South Waziristan Agency,” the Associated Press of Pakistan reported based on an ISPR press release. The term “miscreant” is used by the Pakistani military and government to describe foreign fighters, or al Qaeda. “Successful operations of Security Forces against miscreants on Jandola and Kotkai continued for the fourth consecutive day,” the APP continues. “During search operations of various strongholds of miscreants a huge cache of arms, ammunition and prepared suicide jackets have been recovered.”

Dawn also reported, based on an ISPR press release, that the military has cleared the Ladha and Nawazkot regions, while infantry, backed by tanks and air support, are striking in Touda Cheena and the Makeen areas. The Daily Times has an unconfirmed report that South Waziristan Taliban commander Qari Hussain was killed in an airstrike in Spinkai.

The government and the Taliban have already begun to conduct peace talks. “Elders of the Mehsud tribe are likely to proceed to Peshawar from Tank on Sunday to hold talks with the NWFP Governor, Owais Ahmad Ghani,” according to Dawn’s sources. “A 15-member committee was set up in Tank on Saturday to initiate efforts for a ceasefire between the security forces and the militants in South Waziristan.”

Pakistan has conducted numerous negotiations with the Taliban in 2006 and 2007. The South Waziristan Accord ceded control of the agency to the Taliban in April 2006. The peace agreement was followed by the North Waziristan Accord in September 2006, and agreements in Bajaur, Swat, and Mohmand in 2007.

Former Northwest Frontier Province governor Ali Muhammad Jan Orakzai, who resigned in early January 2008, was a backer of holding peace talks with the Taliban. Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz Khan said Orakzai was relieved due to the failure of the Taliban peace negotiations as these agreements led to the spread of the Taliban and al Qaeda in the Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas.



Taliban commander Qari Hussain survived military operation in Waziristan
By Bill Roggio
May 25, 2008 10:18 PM

A senior Taliban commander thought to have been killed in a Pakistani military operation in South Waziristan in January has turned up alive. Qari Hussain spoke to the media on May 23, just after Baitullah Mehsud said the Taliban would continue to attack NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Hussain mocked the reports of his death at a press conference held at a government school building in South Waziristan. “I am alive, don’t you see me?” Hussain said.

Qari Hussain is a senior lieutenant to Baitullah, the overall commander of the Pakistani Taliban. Hussain is a senior Taliban commander in the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan. He runs suicide training camps that indoctrinate young boys between 9 and 12 years old. He is also described as a leading ideologue for the Taliban. “His extremist views are popular among Arabs, Uzbeks, and Afghan fighters,” The Christian Science Monitor reported.

Baitullah and Hussain had a falling out in June 2007 after Hussain launched a series of violent attacks on police in the tribal areas. Hussain’s followers conducted beheadings and assassinations of tribal leaders in South Waziristan and the settled district of Tank. He was behind the attack on the home of the political agent of Khyber Agency, which resulted in the death of the agent’s six family members and seven guests.

The incident resulted in clashes between the two Taliban leaders as Hussain failed to obtain permission to conduct his campaign of terror. Baitullah retaliated by capturing 17 of Hussain’s followers and threatened to kill them.

While the incident prompted some Pakistani analysts to predict the fracturing and demise of the Taliban, the rift was smoothed over during the summer after the Taliban went on the offensive against the Pakistani military, government, and civilians. Hussain and Baitullah attended a jirga, or tribal council, that was formed to help free more than 300 Pakistani troops captured by the Taliban in South Waziristan.

Hussain’s home in Kotkai was destroyed by the Pakistani military in January. The Pakistani military launched an operation in South Waziristan on Jan. 24 after Taliban forces commanded by Baitullah overran two military outposts and conducted attacks against other forts and military convoys in the tribal agency. The military intercepted Taliban communications that indicated Hussain was killed in the assault.

The Pakistani military reported Hussain may have been killed back in January, then reiterated that claim after taking reporters to one of Hussain’s suicide camps in Spinkai in South Waziristan on May 18.

“It was like a factory that had been recruiting nine to 12-year-old boys, and turning them into suicide bombers,” said Major General Tariq Khan, the commander of Pakistan’s 14 Division, which led the operation in South Waziristan.

“The computers, other equipment and literature seized from the place … give graphic details of the training process in this so-called ‘nursery,’” Dawn reported. “There are videos of young boys carrying out executions, a classroom where 10- to 12-year olds are sitting in formations, with white band of Quranic verses wrapped around their forehead, and there are training videos to show how improvised explosive devices are made and detonated.”



Coalition targets Haqqani Network commander, kills 29 fighters
By Bill Roggio
May 28, 2009 12:30 PM

Afghan and Coalition forces killed 29 fighters from the Haqqani Network during a raid designed to capture a senior leader of the group.

A large firefight broke out after the combined forces targeted what the US military described as an enemy encampment in the Wor Mamay district in the eastern province of Paktika near the Pakistani border.

The target of the raid was a Haqqani Network commander known as Sangeen, or Fateh, who conducts attacks against Afghan and Coalition forces in Paktika. Sangeen was “operating a staging area for future attacks in Paktika province,” the US military said in a press release. Sangeen “planned and coordinated the movement of al Qaeda senior leaders and hundreds of foreign fighters from Pakistan to Afghanistan through the Spreah District.”

The raiding party took fire from Haqqani fighters in “heavily fortified positions” as they neared the camp. US and Afghan forces called in airstrikes and advanced on the positions. Six of the Haqqani fighters detonated suicide vests and others rigged hand grenades to explode as troops searched the bodies. One US solider was wounded during the fight.
The Afghan and US troops found several weapons caches stocked with suicide vests, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, AK-47 assault rifles, and ammunition.

The fighting in eastern Afghanistan has intensified over the past two days. Yesterday, Coalition and Afghan forces beat off an attack by Haqqani fighters in neighboring Paktia province.

An unknown number of Haqqani fighters attacks a small patrol base in the eastern province, sparking a five hour battle. US forces called in airstrikes to help defeat the attack. Fifteen of the attackers were killed in the failed assault.

Targeting the Haqqani Network

The US military has been targeting the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan since early 2008. US special operations forces have targeted the Haqqani leadership in multiple raids in Afghanistan, while the CIA has conducted a covert Predator air campaign against the network across the border in North Waziristan. Nearly half of the US predator strikes in Pakistan since early 2008 were aimed at the Haqqani Network and at al Qaeda leaders sheltering in their tribal areas.

“We want the Haqqanis to know we will hit them anywhere,” a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal afterthe Sept. 8 strike on the Haqqani madrassa, known as the Manba Ulom.

The Manba Ulom madrassa was established by Jalaluddin Haqqani, the family patriarch who has close ties with Osama bin Laden. The madrassa was used in the 1980s to train mujahedeen to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. After the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Haqqani family used the Manba Ulom madrassa as a training center and meeting place for senior al Qaeda leaders.

The Pakistani government closed the madrassa in 2002, but it was reopened in 2004. Since then, Taliban fighters and members of al Qaeda’s network are known to shelter in the madrassa compound.

The madrassa serves as the headquarters for the Haqqani Network, while the network’s forward operating command center in Afghanistan is located in the village of Zambar in the northern Sabari district of Khost province, Afghanistan. The network is active in the Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni, Logar, Wardak, and Kabul, and provides support to Taliban networks in Kunar, Nangarhar, Helmand, and Kandahar provinces.

The Haqqanis have extensive links with al Qaeda and with Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence, or ISI. This relationship has allowed the Haqqani network to survive and thrive in North Waziristan. The Haqqanis control large swaths of North Waziristan, and run a parallel administration with courts, recruiting centers, tax offices, and security forces.

Siraj Haqqani, a son of Jalaluddin, has risen in prominence over the past two years. He is believed to be the mastermind of the most deadly attacks inside Afghanistan, and to be the senior military commander in eastern Afghanistan. The US military has described Siraj as the primary threat to security in eastern Afghanistan. On March 25, the US Department of State put a $5 million bounty out for information leading to the capture or conviction of Siraj.

Siraj is believed to be dangerous not only for his connections with the Afghan Taliban, but with al Qaeda’s central leadership. His connections extend all the way to Osama bin Laden. Siraj actively recruits foreigners into the network and trains them to conduct suicide attacks in Afghanistan.



Siraj Haqqani’s deputy killed in Afghanistan
By Bill Roggio
December 14, 2007 9:59 AM

US forces in eastern Afghanistan have killed the second senior member of Taliban commander Siraj Haqqani’s powerful network. Combined Joint Task Force-82 (CJTF-82) has confirmed that Mullah Sangeen, Siraj’s deputy, was killed in an unspecified raid on December 11.

“Sangeen was responsible for attacks on Afghan forces and improvised explosive device bombings,” the CJTF-82 press release stated. The details and location of the raid have not been made public. CJTF-82 placed a $20,000 reward for information on his capture or death.

The US military singled out Siraj Haqqani and his network as a major threat in eastern Afghanistan in late October. Siraj Haqqani, the son of the influential Taliban leader and former defense minister Jalaluddin Haqqani, was described as “one of the most influential insurgent commanders in eastern Afghanistan” who has “vied for the lead role as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s prime antagonist.”

Siraj is believed to be the new breed of Taliban leadership in Afghanistan: dangerous not only for his connections with the Afghan Taliban, but with al Qaeda’s central leadership. The younger Haqqani’s “extended reach brings foreign fighters from places like Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, Turkey and Middle Eastern countries into Afghanistan,” said Major Chris Belcher, a spokesman for CJTF-82, in October.

US and Afghan forces are now actively working to dismantle the Haqqani Network, which is active in Khost, Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni, Logar, Wardak, and Kabul provinces and provides support to Taliban networks in Kunar, Nangarhar, Helmand, and Kandahar provinces. Mullah Manan, another senior member of the Haqqani Network, was killed in early Novmber. Manan was killed while infiltrating the Spira district in Khost province, which borders North Waziristan in Pakistan.

CJTF-82 is clearly focusing on the Haqqani network and is working to cleave Siraj from his influential father, Jalaluddin. CJTF-82 is partially conducting this information operation via its press releases. Prior statements from CJTF-82 noted Siraj was usurping command of the senior Taliban leadership, including that of his father. The current press release insinuates both Mullah Manan and Sangeen were betrayed.

“That we would get two Haqqani sub-commanders so close together certainly raises an eyebrow and begins to make me wonder if Haqqani isn’t looking to get rid of those sub-commanders he doesn’t trust,” Lieutenant Colonel Dave Anders, the operations officer for CJTF-82 stated. “Certainly, that’s all speculative, but it does make one wonder.”
Anders also noted that Siraj operates from across the border in Pakistan. “Siraj remains in Pakistan in relative safety and puts his subordinates in grave danger,” said Anders. “It’s a different kind of leadership.”

Jalaluddin Haqqani is a leader of the Taliban in North Waziristan. “He became close to Osama bin Laden during the jihad and after the Taliban took control, he served as minister of tribal affairs in its government,” PBS’ Frontline reported in an extensive feature on the senior Haqqani.

The Haqqani family runs several mosques and madrassas, or religious schools, inside of North Waziristan. The Pakistani government closed down the Haqqani-run Manba Ulom madrassa after the US commenced Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, but it was reopened in 2004. Syed Saleem Shahzad, who interviewed Siraj in 2004, described the Manba Ulom madrassa as “a center of jihadi activities, and where top Taliban and al-Qaeda commanders meet.”

Siraj’s influence in the Taliban was highlighted earlier this year when he was sent to Wana, South Waziristan to mediate infighting between Mullah Nazir’s Taliban faction and the Taliban faction backing Uzbeki al Qaeda.


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