The Haqqani Network (HQN) is a Sunni foreign terrorist organization formed to fight against the Soviet Union during its invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1980s. The network allied with the Taliban in 1990s and has since carried out thousands of attacks against US and Afghan forces and civilians, including some of the largest mass-casualty attacks conducted during the conflict with the United States. The HQN’s stated goal is to establish an independent Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In addition to its close ties to the Taliban, the HQN has longstanding ties to al-Qa‘ida and other militant Islamist groups operating in Afghanistan and the region. Several HQN commanders were named to cabinet positions in the Taliban’s caretaker government announced in September 2021.
Following the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the HQN sought refuge in North Waziristan, Pakistan, from where it conducted cross-border operations into eastern Afghanistan. The network probably largely relocated to Afghanistan when the Taliban came to power in August 2021.
Between 3,000 and 5,000
TACTICS AND TARGETS
HQN used suicide bombers and explosive-laden vehicles against Afghan Government security forces, US and other coalition troops, government buildings, schools, prisons, and foreign embassies in Afghanistan.
FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP DESIGNATION
The US State Department designated the HQN as a foreign terrorist organization in September 2012 and named several HQN leaders as specially designated global terrorists, including Khalil ur Rahman Haqqani, in 2011 and Sirajuddin, Yahya Haqqani, and Muhammad Omar Zadran in 2014.