If you keep up with the news, you’ve probably heard of most Earth's most notorious Islamic terror groups - Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban... but what about the lesser known but equally important Haqqani Network?
Technically, the Haqqani Network, a guerrilla insurgent group from Afghanistan, is part of the Taliban, although they operate independently. Not surprisingly, their main enemies are the US-led NATO forces and the government of Afghanistan.
In the 1980s, the Haqqani network was closely aligned with the CIA because of their anti-Soviet agenda. The Haqqani network actually got quite a bit of their funding from the Reagan administration.
But all of that changed after 9-11-01 and, in 2012, President Obama's military designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist group (which seems like something that should have happened about 11 years earlier).
For the past few decades the leader of the Haqqani Network was Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani. "Mawlawi" is an honored Islamic religious title given to Muslim religious scholars.
Born in 1939, Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani worked with the CIA throughout the 1980s in an effort to get the Soviets out of Afghanistan. As far as we know Haqqani received tens of thousands of dollars from the CIA (probably more) as well as getting frequent handouts from various Arab nations. Some reports claim he actually made plans to meet with President Reagan. Whether or not that meeting ever happened is unknown.
Besides being friends with the CIA and President Reagan, Haqqani had another controversial friend - Osama Bin Laden. Not only did the two work closely together to create their jihadist movement, Haqqai actually protected Osama Bin Laden, who was building another militia in an attempt to fight off the Soviets (you've probably heard of it - he named the group Al-Qaeda).
This was a violent and deadly time in Afghanistan - the war with Russia lasted years. Some of the events from that war (Operation Magistral) have been fictionalized in the movie The 9th Company and a video game called The Truth About 9th Company.
In 1988 Haqqani finally got his wish, and the Soviets eventually left Afghanistan after signing the Geneva Accords.
The Taliban took over Afghanistan in 1996 and the Haqqani Network became part of the group’s military offensive strategy.
However, by 2004 all of that had changed. In a post 9-11-01 world, the Haqqani Network has been one of the US's fiercest enemies. Haqqani spent the remaining years of his life training jihadists to fight in Afghanistan, supposedly from a secret compound in Pakistan.
Because of Haqqani's fluency in Arabic, he kept close ties over the years with leaders in Arabic countries for recruitment and funding purposes. In a way, he’s kind of like the Nancy Pelosi of the Jihadist movement (because he’s great at fundraising).
The US tried many times to kill Haqqani though drone strikes and NATO military missions, but to no avail.
Earlier this week, on September 3rd, the Taliban released a statement via Twitter to announce Haqqani's death. They claim he died from terminal illness, not a drone strike or NATO military engagement. According to the Taliban, he has been bedridden for the past several years. Considering he was born in 1939, and he spent his life as a Jihadist, it's incredible that he lived as long as he did.
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Haqqani was little more than a pirate. He didn’t care who paid him, as long as he could wreak havoc, gather booty, and get paid.
But, in the end, death always wins.