Posts Tagged ‘Haqqani network’

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Antiquities smuggling funds terrorism

July 6, 2014

Haqqani network leader describes $3,000 cut from smuggler

Not only does the theft of artifacts from Middle Eastern tombs, museums, and archeological sites rob the world of its history, but it funds jihadists across the globe including militants in Afghanistan and sleeper cell operatives in the West.

This is an excerpt from a National Geographic article (h/t El Grillo) last month:

…In 1999, Mohamed Atta, the al Qaeda member who hijacked and flew an American Airlines plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, tried to sell Afghan antiquities to a German university professor. Atta, according to information released by the German intelligence agency, claimed that he was selling artifacts in order to purchase an airplane.

More recently, an American expert on Afghan trafficking networks has uncovered a direct link between Afghan insurgents and the antiquities trade. In a report published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Gretchen Peters, a senior fellow on transnational crime at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, describes how a terrorist organization known as the Haqqani Network—which is allied with al Qaeda—collects protection money from traffickers moving looted artifacts into Pakistan.

In an interview conducted by Peters’s research assistant, a Haqqani commander described receiving a $3,000 payment from a trader, and noted that many “businessmen who smuggle precious stone, sculptures, and other historic artifacts … pay dues to the Taliban to avoid trouble on the road.” These funds can then be used to purchase weapons.

Violent factions in Iraq also appear to be cashing in on the illicit antiquities trade. In 2007, Colonel Matthew Bogdanos of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, head of the investigation into the 2003 looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, reported that insurgents turned to artifact smuggling to generate funds after the world banking community froze assets belonging to their supporters…

Shariah Finance Watch has some related information funding terrorism through smuggling in Iraq and Syria here.

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Haqqani financier with deep Gulf ties killed

November 24, 2013

The chief money man behind the Haqqani network, Nasiruddin Haqqani, has been shot dead.  He has been under U.S. sanctions since 2010; at the time the Treasury Department said, “From at least 2005 to 2009, Nasiruddin Haqqani collected funds for the Haqqani Network, including during a 2008 fundraising trip to a Gulf state and during regular travel to the (UAE) in 2007. As of mid-2007, Haqqani reportedly received funding from ­donations from the Gulf region, drug trafficking, and payments from al-Qa’ida. In 2004, he traveled to Saudi Arabia with a Taliban associate to raise funds for the Taliban.”

Nasiruddin Haqqani used to live next door to the headquarters of ISI, the Pakistani spy agency, with whom he collaborated.

The BBC reports:

… As the group’s main fundraiser, Nasiruddin frequently travelled to the oil-rich sheikhdoms of the Middle East to solicit donations.

He represented the Haqqani network in last year’s efforts to set up a Taliban office in Doha for peace talks with the United States.

He was also the group’s main contact person for pro-Taliban elements in Pakistan, as well as its representative with the Afghan Taliban.

‘Well-dressed networker’

Unlike his father and many of his brothers, Nasiruddin Haqqani and two of his uncles did not live in Miran Shah in North Waziristan. He chose to base himself near Islamabad, from where he made his many journeys abroad to secure funds.

Some sources said he had major business interests in the Gulf, including a transport company.

Nasiruddin is not thought to have been publicly photographed.

Those who have met him describe a tall, educated, well-dressed man who travelled in expensive cars and networked an extensive list of contacts all the time.

They say his appearance gave no clue to his militant connections. His code name was “the doctor”, possibly because of a degree that he had studied for.

His death will be a major blow to the Haqqanis, who will need to find someone else to spearhead their efforts to secure financing…

Shouldn’t be too hard for the ISI to anoint somebody else.

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The Haqqani network’s bottom line

September 13, 2012

NPR’s Scott Simon recently interviewed Jackie Northam about the U.S. designation of the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization and the financial sanctions against it.  The jihadist group is funded by Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI.

Northam correctly dismissed the financial impact of the designation, which prohibits U.S. business deals with the Haqqani network and freezes any assets they have in American banks, as “largely symbolic.”  It does little to alter their domestic and Gulf revenue sources.  An excerpt from their conversation:

SIMON: The State Department says that among other things this designation as a terrorist organization is going to ban any Americans from doing business with the Haqqanis and it’ll block any assets they hold in the U.S. What kind of potential impact could it have on the Haqqani Network?

NORTHAM: You know, Scott, the Haqqani network has shown a lot of determination to create trouble in Afghanistan and so the analysts I’ve talked with here in Pakistan say this decision really probably won’t have much of an impact and it’s really largely symbolic. They say that the Haqqani network itself doesn’t have financial interests in the U.S. and instead it has a very much a profitable business network in this area and the Persian Gulf region and a good part of it is thought to be criminal activities.

But the U.S. is hoping that this designation will just strangle any efforts by the Haqqani Network to raise funds in places like Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, where there are sympathizers to their cause. But, frankly, this is really an informal network of raising money, and it could be hard to track, you know, who’s getting the money and how it’s coming into this area.

And this is part of the debate in Washington, just trying to weigh what impact blacklisting the Haqqani Network would have, versus how this decision would affect U.S./Pakistan relations going forward.

SIMON: NPR’s Jackie Northam in Islamabad, thank you.

It’s a classic too little, too late scenario:  Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Carl Leven (D-MI), and Gen. David Petraeus asked Sec. Hillary Clinton to make this designation two years ago.

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Video: Sen. Kirk confirms ISI funds Haqqani

October 21, 2011

Money Jihad noted over a year ago that the Haqqani network is probably funded by Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI.

Navy reservist and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) gives the most recent first-hand confirmation of this disturbing fact in a new video (h/t The Cable) released after his recent two-week annual training to Afghanistan.  Sen. Kirk notes that “The Pakistani government continues to provide financing, operational support, and protection for the Haqqani network in western Pakistan.”  Take a look:

The ISI’s financial and administrative support for the Haqqani network is especially troubling in light of a new CENTCOM report this week that described Haqqani network as more dangerous to the U.S. than the Taliban or Al Qaeda.  Remarkably, there are still people—especially senior State Department officials—who think the U.S. should be supporting the government of Pakistan through foreign aid.

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Clinton may designate Haqqani Network as terrorist organization

July 27, 2010

In an interview with BBC World Service on July 18, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the State Department is (finally) considering designating the virulently Islamist Haqqani Network in Pakistan as a terrorist entity:

The Haqqani Network is widely recognized as a threat to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the U.S., and was involved with the Taliban in carrying out deadly attacks in Kabul earlier this summer.  Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-California) requested the designation back in May.  Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Gen. Petraeus have made similar requests over the last two weeks.  If the State Department is ready to pull the trigger, it’s overdue but somewhat encouraging. 

The Haqqani Network has close ties to Al Qaeda and is probably funded by Pakistan’s spy service, the ISI.  Treasury official David S. Cohen has claimed that the U.S. is active in curtailing the network, but currently there are no financial sanctions, asset freezes, or restrictions on Americans doing business with Haqqani Network (other than a recent freeze of just one Haqqani Network’s members).  Recently, a reporter at a State Department press briefing asked Asst. Sec. Philip Crowley, “Don’t you think the delay in this [Haqqani designation] would help these organizations to have transfer of funds and even raise funds here in the U.S.?”  Crowley’s answer?  Spin and boilerplate.

Apparently our executive branch has taken this slow approach in order to retain warm relations with Pakistan.

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Too little, too late? Treasury and the Haqqani Network

July 23, 2010

The Treasury Department has designated one individual member of the terrorist Haqqani Network for sanctions.  I’ve posted CNN’s article about it on Rantburg.  (For those of you unfamiliar with Rantburg, the headline of each story provides a link to the original news article, the text of the story are direct excerpts from the source, and my own commentary inserted in highlighted yellow text.)