Badruddin Haqqani: Designated Global Terrorist

Badruddin Haqqani: Designated Global Terrorist

By Jeffrey Dressler

On May 11, 2011, the U.S. Department of State designated Badruddin Haqqani as a global terrorist under Executive Order 13224. As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction is blocked and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him.1 Badruddin’s designation is a signal to elements within the Pakistani security establishment that their continued support for the Haqqani Network continues to be a matter of grave concern that will continue to strain relations between the two countries.

Badruddin Haqqani is rumored to be the day-to-day operational commander of the Haqqani Network. He is the son of famed mujahideen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani and is the brother of the current Haqqani Network leader, Siraj Haqqani and Nasiruddin Haqqani—all of whom enjoy shared status as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.2

According to the State Department, Badruddin Haqqani sits on the Miram Shah Shura, a council that has command and control over all Haqqani Network activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.3 In November 2008, Badruddin accepted responsibility for holding New York Times reporter David Rohde hostage before he escaped in June 2009.

The most disturbing aspect of the Haqqani Network is not their geographic reach or operational prowess, but their relationship with al-Qaeda and elements within the Pakistani security establishment. The Haqqani Network maintains close ties to senior al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan and helps link al-Qaeda fighters with operations inside Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network, with safehavens in North Waziristan and Kurram Agency, shelter and protect al-Qaeda and affiliated groups such as Lashkar-e Taiba and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.4

America’s patience for Pakistan’s support of proxy insurgent groups, like the Haqqanis, has come under increasing strain even before the death of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Before a meeting with senior Pakistani military officials this past month, Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs publicly cited Pakistan’s “long standing” relationship with the Haqqani Network, an unusually blunt move given the Admiral’s personal relationship with General Kayani, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff.5 In exchange for Pakistan’s provision of funding, operational expertise, and safehaven, the Haqqani Network works to secure territorial influence in Afghanistan’s east and strike Indian targets in Kabul and elsewhere. For Pakistan, this provides them with “strategic depth” in the event of a full-scale Indian military incursion.

As long as Pakistan views the Haqqanis as an effective means to secure their geostrategic interests in the region, they are unlikely to sever ties with the group. Instead of the U.S. continuing to push Pakistan to do the unthinkable and address the Haqqani problem, perhaps the  most rational and effective course of action is for NATO forces in Afghanistan to focus on defeating the Haqqanis in Afghanistan’s east. Although this is no small task, it is undoubtedly the most direct means of addressing the threat of the Haqqani Network and ensuring that they can no longer provide al-Qaeda with the means to operate in Afghanistan.


Jeffrey Dressler is a Senior Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War and co-author of the recent report, “The Haqqani Network in Kurram,” May 2011.


1. U.S. Department of State, “Designation of Haqqani Network Commander Badruddin Haqqani,” May 11, 2011

2. Khalil Haqqani, brother of Jalaluddin and uncle of Badruddin is also listed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Khalil was the main Haqqani Network force behind a recent peace agreement between Sunni and Shia factions in Kurram Agency.

3. U.S. Department of State, “Designation of Haqqani Network Commander Badruddin Haqqani,” May 11, 2011

4. Jeffrey Dressler, “The Haqqani Network: From Pakistan to Afghanistan,” Institute for the Study of War, October 2010

5. Ben Arnoldy, “Why Admiral Mullen is talking tough with Pakistan over Haqqani militants,” Christian Science Monitor, April 21, 2011