Saturday, May 21st, 2022

Taliban releases photo of Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani for the first time

Afghanistan’s Taliban Government posted my picture for the first time Home Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, who also happens to be a UN designated terrorist. The photo, tweeted by Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is the first image of the elusive leader in decades where his face is clearly visible.

The picture was tweeted on Saturday with the message: “The Minister of Interior of the Islamic Emirate, Khalifa Sahib Sirajuddin Haqqani Hafizullah inaugurated the graduation ceremony of the National Police.”

Even the US, which has pursued Haqqani for more than a decade and a half, has only a side profile of the wanted terrorist, whose face is half-covered in a shawl. India, which has accused him of masterminding several attacks on its assets in Afghanistan, including its embassy, ​​does not even have a front-facing photograph of his face.

Interestingly, even after Haqqani became part of the government in September 2021, the Taliban made every effort to keep him away from any propaganda material released. In a series of photographs released after a Taliban meeting at Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel in October last year, Haqqani’s face was either hidden with a bouquet or intentionally blurred.

Sources in the security establishment said the Taliban’s change in status could be part of an effort to demand legitimacy for Haqqani when Haqqani appears before the public.

The appointment of Sirajuddin Haqqani as Afghanistan’s interior minister was seen as a hoax in the world as Pakistan.

“Now that the government is a few months old and the world has started engaging with it despite not officially recognizing it, the Taliban may be testing the waters with it on Haqqani. At the same time, as they seek relief from around the world, they want to come forward and signal that the world can openly engage with them. It could also be a sign that they want to come out of the shadow of their masters in Pakistan,” said a former Research and Analysis Wing official who has watched Afghanistan closely.

Haqqani’s appointment as Afghanistan’s interior minister was seen as a hoax in the world as Pakistan. Not only has Pakistan managed to keep its long-term strategic assets in the top positions Taliban governmentIt also virtually got the UN designated terrorist he had sheltered for decades, designated as No.

The Taliban announced their cabinet on September 7, 2021, three days after Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed arrived in Kabul to decide on government formation.

The Taliban group based in Doha, which had been negotiating with the international community and established contacts with New Delhi, was sidelined.

From New Delhi’s point of view, the appointment of Sirajuddin Haqqani as Afghanistan’s interior minister was the clearest indication that the cabinet had been chosen by the ISI.

The son of former Mujahideen fighter and CIA asset Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose death was announced in September 2018, Sirajuddin is also the head of the Haqqani network, a vast Islamist terrorist mafia with close ties to al-Qaeda based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan. He was responsible for the 2008 terrorist attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul that killed 58 people, and attacks against Indians and Indian interests in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. He was designated a global terrorist by the United Nations and the US in 2007. A reward of $10 million was announced on him.

According to the FBI, Sirajuddin is wanted in the US for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including a US citizen. “He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Haqqani was also reportedly involved in planning the 2008 attempted assassination of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

As interior minister, Sirajuddin’s mandate includes not only law and order, but also the appointment of provincial governors under the guise of “local governance”.

Sirajuddin is also the head of the Haqqani network.

According to a 2010 report on the Haqqani Network by the US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War, Sirajuddin’s mother is an Arab woman who was Jalaluddin’s second wife. She is said to be living in a gulf country.

Sirajuddin’s UN listing states that he “participated in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or committing crimes on behalf of, in his name, actions or activities in support of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and Jaish.” -e-Mohammed”.

It describes him as “one of the most prominent, influential, charismatic and experienced leaders within the Haqqani network … and has been one of the network’s principal operational commanders since 2004. After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Sirajuddin Haqqani took control. of the Haqqani network and has since placed the group at the fore of insurgent activities in Afghanistan.”

According to the listing, he derived most of his power and authority from his father, Jalaluddin Haqqani – who was also listed, and served as “a go-between for al-Qaeda and the Taliban on both sides of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border”. was described in. ,

Sirajuddin was involved in a suicide attack on a police bus in Kabul on June 18, 2007, in which 35 police officers were killed.