Who is Khalil Haqqani, the self-proclaimed head of Kabul security?

Published on Aug 27, 2021 04:46 PM IST

A Haqqani leader who is believed to be close to al-Qaeda, Islamic State-Khorasan province, once a CIA partner and close to Pakistan intelligence, is in charge of Kabul's security now.

Khalil Haqqani was a CIA partner when the CIA was providing weapons to Afghan rebels in the 1980s to fight the Soviet terrorist.
Khalil Haqqani was a CIA partner when the CIA was providing weapons to Afghan rebels in the 1980s to fight the Soviet terrorist.
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

The devastating blasts in the vicinity of Kabul airport on Thursday once again brought the Taliban's association with the Haqqani and the Islamic State- Khorasan Province into the discourse as the Taliban condemned the attack. Afghanistan former vice president Amrullah Saleh said the IS-K has its roots in Talibs and Haqqani network, particularly the ones operating in Kabul. US President Joe Biden, on the other hand, said he has not found any evidence that the Taliban colluded with the IS terrorists in carrying out the attacks.

Amid this debate, the role of Khalil Haqqani, who is in charge of the security of Kabul has come under the scanner. Here are 5 things to know about him

1. Khalil Haqqani has had a $5 million reward after the US designated him a terrorist 10 years ago.

Kabul blast: What Amrullah Saleh says on Taliban, ISIS-K, Haqqani link

2. Khalil Haqqani is a Haqqani group leader. After the fall of Kabul on August 15, he was seen roaming the streets of Kabul.

3. On one hand, Khalil has Taliban support and on the other, he had "acted on behalf of al-Qaeda and their terrorist operations".

4. Apart from making a lot of day-to-day decisions for the Haqqani network, Khalil was also close to Pakistan intelligence.

5. Khalil was a CIA partner when the CIA was providing weapons to Afghan rebels in the 1980s to fight the Soviet terrorist.

Taliban and IS-K: Haqqani the missing link

IS-K has major differences with the Taliban as the Taliban are now in favour of peace talks. According to IS-K, the Taliban have abandoned Jihad. But the missing link between the two groups is Haqqani and, as Amrullah Saleh said, the Haqqani that is operating in Kabul. While many experts think that IS-K will be a major security challenge for the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Taliban after taking over Afghanistan released many prisoners which included IS and al-Qaeda terrorists.

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