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Will US Hit Most-Wanted Haqqanis in Afghanistan?

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FILE – Taliban Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, speaking in Kabul on April 28, 2022, still carries a $10 million bounty from the U.S. government for his arrest relating to a fatal attack on a hotel in 2008.

Sirajuddin Haqqani has not responded to allegations that al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri lived under his protection in Kabul and he has not appeared in public since al-Zawahiri’s killing was reported, but Sirajuddin Haqqani still carries a $10 million bounty on his head for his alleged terrorist activities.

The 42-year-old Taliban interior minister and leader of the Haqqani network, a powerful faction within the Taliban movement, is not the only designated terrorist in his extended family. His uncle, Khalil Haqqani, also a Cabinet minister in the Taliban’s Afghanistan leadership, and his younger brother, Aziz Haqqani, each has a reward of $5 million offered by the U.S. government in return for information that will lead to their arrest. Yahya Haqqani, Sirajuddin’s close aide and brother-in-law, has no monetary reward for his arrest but was designated a global terrorist by the U.S. government in February 2014.

The Haqqanis are wanted for their alleged involvement in the execution and organizing of a series of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan over the past several years.

Sirajuddin Haqqani is accused of planning the Jan. 14, 2008, attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul that killed six people including U.S. citizen Thor David Hesla.

In March 2008, the U.S. Department of State designated Sirajuddin Haqqani a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

In February 2008, Khalil Haqqani was given the same designation. Among other terrorist activities, Khalil Haqqani is accused of aiding al-Qaida operatives in Afghanistan with fighters, weapons and financial resources.

Until the Taliban seized Kabul last August, the Haqqanis were living so secretively that there were no pictures of Sirajuddin and Khalil.

Boasting of their “Allah-aided” victory against an invading superpower, the U.S., both Khalil and Sirajuddin Haqqani now appear in front of cameras acting as the liberators of Kabul.

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