Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Taliban's new star may eclipse Mullah Omar

Taliban's new star may eclipse Mullah Omar

Author: Times Insight Group
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 31, 2008

He is a slightly built man with a flowing, gray-flecked beard. He has been a guerrilla for nearly three decades, except for a stint as a government minister. He is an Islamic scholar, equally comfortable firing shoulder fired Stingers and negotiating with American or Saudi paymasters. Meet Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani, 60, recognized as the emerging leader of a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.

Haqqani made his name in the jihad against the communists in Afghanistan much before the Taliban emerged out of Kandahar. He was credited with the first ever victory against the Najibullah government in 1991 when his Pashtun fighters dramatically seized the town of Khost in eastern Afghanistan. His extensive contacts in Saudi Arabia helped him mobilize huge funds for the war.

In those days, Haqqani reportedly had the largest hoard of weaponry received from the US. This was the time when he forged links with the ISI of Pakistan, which was deeply involved in the anti-Soviet war. Such was his legend both as a scholar and as a strategic military commander that the Taliban offered him a ministership in their government in Kabul. After the US attacked Afghanistan in 2001, Haqqani was pursued by US raids in western Afghanistan. He escaped to Miram Shah in Waziristan. From there arose the Haqqani network-a secretive,
loosely-knit organization of fighters carrying out raids and suicide bombings in Afghanistan, and if need be, in Pakistan.

His ISI connections helped him retain the safe haven in Pakistan. One of his sons, Sirajuddin, known as Khalifa, has also emerged as a leader of this network. In recent years, as Haqqani's influence has grown, he challenged Mullah Omar, ridiculing him as an illiterate. This led to several overtures being made by the US to win him over to their side. These, however, failed as Haqqani and his son vowed to continue the jihad.

Recent US air strikes targeting Haqqani's base area in Pakistan's frontier region show that the move has fizzled out. Haqqani is once again in the thick of the fight, but this time he may well emerge as the new leader of the Taliban.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements