Country Reports on Terrorism 2014 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Haqqani Network

aka HQN

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 19, 2012, the Haqqani Network (HQN) was formed in the late 1970s, around the time of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Jalaluddin Haqqani, HQN's founder, established a relationship with Usama bin Laden in the mid-1980s, and joined the Taliban in 1995. After the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, Jalaluddin retreated to Pakistan where, under the leadership of Jalaluddin's son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the group began participating in the insurgency and became known as the Haqqani Network.

Activities: HQN has planned and carried out a number of significant kidnappings and attacks against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan government and civilian targets. HQN's most notorious attacks in recent years include an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in June 2011, which killed 11 civilians and two Afghan policemen; a September 2011 truck bombing in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, which wounded 77 U.S. soldiers; a 19-hour attack on the U.S. Embassy and ISAF headquarters in Kabul in September 2011, which killed 16 Afghans, including at least six children; a June 2012 suicide bomb attack against Forward Operating Base Salerno, which killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded more than 100; and a 12-hour siege of the Spozhmai Hotel in Kabul in June 2012, which resulted in the death of at least 18 Afghans, including 14 civilians. HQN was also involved in holding U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was kidnapped in 2009 and remained in captivity until he was released in May 2014.

HQN's attacks continued in 2014. In July, Afghan officials blamed HQN for a suicide attack at a market in Orgun, which killed over 70 people, and an attack against the airport in Kabul. In November, Afghan officials implicated HQN in an attack in which a suicide bomber killed more than 60 people at a volleyball game in Paktika province. In addition to these attacks, multiple HQN plots, many planned against Afghan officials in Kabul, were disrupted by the Afghan police before they could be carried out.

HQN suffered numerous setbacks in 2014, including the capture of two senior members, Anas Haqqani and Hafiz Rashid, by Afghan security forces in October.

Strength: HQN is believed to have several hundred core members, but it is estimated that the organization is also able to draw upon a pool of upwards of 10,000 fighters with varying degrees of affiliation. HQN cooperates closely with the larger Afghan Taliban and also draws strength through cooperation with other terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan, including al-Qa'ida, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Jaish-e Mohammad.

Location/Area of Operation: HQN is active along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and across much of southeastern Afghanistan, particularly in Loya Paktia. The group's leadership has historically maintained a power base around Pakistan's tribal areas.

Funding and External Aid: In addition to the support it receives through its connections to other terrorist organizations, HQN receives much of its funds from donors in Pakistan and the Gulf, as well as through criminal activities such as kidnapping, extortion, smuggling, and other licit and illicit business ventures.


This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.