Taliban Releases Video Claiming Sirajuddin Haqqani is in Helmand

8/6/2022

The Taliban released a video on Twitter on Saturday claiming that the group's acting Interior Minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, had traveled to Helmand province.

In the video, Haqqani can be seen meeting his aides in a desert. His exact location has not been stated in the video.

The Taliban added that Haqqani will hold meetings in Helmand province.

After the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of the al-Qaeda in Kabul, US authorities accused Sirajuddin Haqqani of sheltering Zawahiri in Kabul. Even after a week since the incident, Haqqani has not yet responded to the US’ stance.

However, Haqqani's absence from public life after the death of Zawahiri had been raising eyebrows. Reports had even emerged that the Taliban's interior minister had moved back to his hideout fearing a possible US drone strike.

The possibility of a US strike on the leaders of the Haqqani network is plausible with the $10 million bounty on Sirajuddin Haqqani's head still standing.

Haqqani, the 42-year-old interior minister of the Taliban and the leader of the Haqqani network, is not the only terrorist in the Haqqani family that the United States has set a reward for information leading to their arrest.

The United States has put a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Khalil ur Rahman Haqqani, Sirajuddin's uncle, who is the minister of refugee affairs in the Taliban cabinet, and Aziz Haqqani, Sirajuddin's younger brother.

There is no cash reward for the arrest of Yahya Haqqani, a close aide and brother-in-law of Sirajuddin, but he was also designated as a global terrorist by the United States in 2014.

The Haqqanis are wanted for being involved in killings and organising a series of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan since 2008.

Sirajuddin Haqqani is accused of planning the January 14, 2008, attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul. Six people, including an American citizen, had been killed in the attack. In March 2008, the US State Department designated Sirajuddin Haqqani as a global terrorist.

In February 2008, Khalil Haqqani was also named a wanted terrorist by the US law enforcement and security agencies. Among other terrorist activities, Khalil Haqqani is accused of providing weapons and financial resources to al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan.

After the Taliban's victory in Kabul, Haqqani traveled to Kandahar and admitted that around 1,050 members of the Taliban's Haqqani network, had waged suicide attacks in the past decade and a half in Afghanistan.

The Taliban are accused of mass killings of civilians in the cities and villages of Afghanistan since 1994 when the group emerged for the first time in Kandahar province.

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