Sirajuddin Haqqani dares US to attack N Waziristan

Published: September 24, 2011

Sirajuddin is one of the world’s most wanted men with a $5 million bounty on his head. He said he discovered that while listening to the Voice of America. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: While the United States, ever more strident, is ratcheting up pressure on Pakistan to snap its “ties with the Haqqani network”, the group’s chief Sirajuddin Haqqani on Friday warned Washington against any military adventure in the North Waziristan tribal agency.

Speaking to Reuters by satellite phone from an undisclosed location, Sirajuddin said he’d look forward to a US ground attack in North Waziristan. “The United States will suffer more losses [in North Waziristan] than they did in Afghanistan,” he said.

Still, he doesn’t take chances, especially with overhead drones a constant worry – 57 drone strikes have peppered the region so far this year, according to the New American Foundation, a think tank that keeps a database of such attacks.

Some 55 members of his family, including his brother, have been killed in such attacks.

According to the New American database, at least a quarter of the drone attacks since 2008 have targeted the Haqqanis.

“I always avoid travelling in a motorcade of armed fighters, as it puts your life in danger,” he said, adding that is also why he doesn’t wear a turban or carry a gun.

Yet he is far from being a desperate fugitive on the run. He acknowledges that Haqqani fighters now number around 15,000, making it probably the largest force among the Taliban warlords. He also moves easily across the border to areas of eastern Afghanistan where the Haqqanis are entrenched.

(Read: Who on earth are the Haqqanis?)

He even mediates disputes among the Taliban and takes part in their meetings in Afghanistan.

“His word is enough,” said Mahmood Shah, a former Pakistan intelligence official who monitored militants for years.

The forbidding terrain of Waziristan, which forms an ill-defined border with Afghanistan, is also his ally.

“There are certain houses and villages where the bathroom is in Afghanistan and the bedroom is in Pakistan and this creates some issues,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters. “That no-man’s land, that is not (in the) control of Pakistani forces or Afghan authorities or the US forces.”

The Haqqani’s power and influence in Afghanistan is such that they are indispensable to any settlement of the decade-long Afghan conflict, America’s longest war, experts say.

“If there is to be a meaningful cessation of hostilities, the Haqqanis will have to be part of the peace process,” said Vahid Brown, an expert on Islamic militancy and author of a new book, “Fountainhead of Jihad: the Haqqani Nexus”.

(Read: Time for some hard decisions)

Sirajuddin is one of the world’s most wanted men with a $5 million bounty on his head. He said he discovered that while listening to the Voice of America.

“I don’t know why, but I could not sleep that night,” he said in Thursday’s interview. “In the morning, I tuned into a Pashto-language broadcast of the Voice of America and came to know about this. “I have chosen the path of jihad and I know very well about the hardships and fruits of this path.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (54)

  • elo
    Sep 24, 2011 - 6:32AM

    Sirajuddin is one of the world’s most wanted men with a $5 million bounty on his head.

    No he is no 3.. after Bush and Nut-ton-yahoo

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  • GetRidOfFeudalPolitics
    Sep 24, 2011 - 6:36AM

    For gods sake have mercy on us and leave pakistan

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  • anybody agree!
    Sep 24, 2011 - 6:37AM

    All haqqanis & afghanis should leave Pakistan & return back to Afghanistan. they are not good to our motherland.

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  • Ali
    Sep 24, 2011 - 7:05AM

    you cant have a undisclosed location when using a satellite phone. Why dont we admit the war on terror is a joke, America is not interested in winning the war just keeping a long term military presence for pipelines and defanging pakistan

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  • biryani
    Sep 24, 2011 - 7:49AM

    didn’t he mention a few days back that the group is in afghanistan and not in north waziristan ?
    infact more safe in afghanistan …

    n now daring US to attack north and american will suffer most .. at the hands of whom?

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  • BruteForce
    Sep 24, 2011 - 8:00AM

    I thought Haqqanis are not in Afghanistan! lol

    They are akin to Cancer for a Nation. You either have to go through the painful Chemotherapy or let the Cancer consume you. Pakistan is opting, right now, for the latter.

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  • Farooq Khan
    Sep 24, 2011 - 8:01AM

    Haqqani’s boasting will be paid by us . He,like Mullah Omar will just kick start his motor cycle and vanish

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  • sheeda talli
    Sep 24, 2011 - 8:07AM

    @GetRidOfFeudalPolitics:
    Yes, the US should . I agree a 100%.

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  • narayana murthy
    Sep 24, 2011 - 8:08AM

    @Anybody agree! who says “All haqqanis & afghanis should leave Pakistan & return back to Afghanistan. they are not good to our motherland.”

    Are these people not the sons of your soil?!!!

    Also, this Bravado reminds me of a stupid scene from a stupid movie called Mausam. When an airforce pilot is called in for actual action, he cocks his gun and keeps it in his holster.

    Perhaps to be able to shoot down a fighter jet, sitting in his MIG, using his handgun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Are these Haqqanis going to shoot at the drones?!!!!

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  • Balochistan
    Sep 24, 2011 - 8:13AM

    Time to be bombed back to the stone age. I foresee a huge rise in animal hide as a lot of pakis will be ordering for off the shelf national costumes in a very short time.

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  • Moz
    Sep 24, 2011 - 8:14AM

    America has been attacking Waziristan for almost a decade, and even had a ground incursion. So I don’t know what is he daring America about?

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  • Talha
    Sep 24, 2011 - 8:52AM

    @biryani:
    Aik dum correct

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  • Faisal
    Sep 24, 2011 - 9:12AM

    for gods sake LEAVE PAKISTAN……………JUST LET PAKISTANIS LIVE IN PAKISTAN !!!!Recommend

  • islooboy
    Sep 24, 2011 - 9:15AM

    haqanis have support of local pashtun if we atack them than this war on terror might become an ethnic battle

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  • Muhammad Mehdi Raza
    Sep 24, 2011 - 9:28AM

    “I have chosen the path of jihad and I know very well about the hardships and fruits of this path.”

    Giving an interview via satellite to Reuters is part of this Jehad?

    The interview comes at the time when US was in dire need of such an interview. Much the same way when Osama’s tapes used to release just in time for the US to make good use of them. So I guess we have a ‘father-figure’ for the jehadis post Osama with this interview.

    How convenient for the US …

    And the right wing would now be gearing up to lend support to this man who is either a US stooge or completely out of his mind giving this interview at this juncture to Reuters.

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  • Mirza
    Sep 24, 2011 - 9:34AM

    Look at his picture. Unfortunately this is our present and future, if we do not expel them right away. Their Jihad should be in Afghanistan against the foreign forces and not the people of Pakistan who have become their hostages.

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  • sunny
    Sep 24, 2011 - 9:43AM

    Siraj rightly said “—– chosen the path of jihad and I know very well about the hardship and fruits of this path.’
    “ENLIGHTMENT DOES NOT COME EASY”.
    Many will disagree but i dont care.Recommend

  • Chacha
    Sep 24, 2011 - 10:28AM

    So Haqqini is in Pakistan ? Why does nto Pakistan pick him up and put him through a judicial process ? If he is innocent then he walks free if not then US gets what they want ?

    But then the highjackers of airlines roam free in Pakistan – so why not him.

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  • Sep 24, 2011 - 10:36AM

    Funny how the can hold press briefings with Reuters and listen to VoA.

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  • Muhammad Asif Shaikh
    Sep 24, 2011 - 10:40AM

    Below Statement speaks all:

    “Speaking to Reuters by satellite phone from an undisclosed location”

    How could it possible that “World’s Most Wanted Man” speaking on Satellite Phone with a foreign news group and “World’s Super Power” Not able to Trace His Location.

    Its totally a drama to pressurize PAKISTAN ARMY and ISIRecommend

  • Sep 24, 2011 - 10:55AM

    @GetRidOfFeudalPolitics: Well said to the Americans and the F-E-U-D-A-L-S. But you forgot to mention Afghanistan, so the Skunk has filled in the blank for you, my friend. Continue having a nice day.

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  • Engr.Mohsin Raza
    Sep 24, 2011 - 11:46AM

    The Taliban was the group of Mujahideen who have the honour to defend Afghanistan from Soviet Invasion. They are native Afghans that constitute the largest ethnic group (42-60% as per world factbook library of congress estimates). The Pashtuns (Talibans) have the right to form policies in Afghanistan according to their own aspirations. The problem is with the United States who wants to tame this nearly 2 crore population, out of total 3 crore afghans, as per their appease. Can US do that? Had it been that easy, the Pakistan would have have reformed the Tribal areas many years back.

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  • sufistani
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:07PM

    The people of Waziristan are used to being bombed. They’ve been bombed for over a century now. The British used aerial bombardment and the Americans use their drones. What is clear is that these people do not submit to any form of intimidation or force, and they never will. It would be unwise for Pakistan to hunt down the Haqqanis at the request of the US. Besides, it is because of the US occupation of Afghanistan that Pakistan’s economy and people have suffered an incalculable loss.
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  • Brekhna
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:35PM

    That is what you said when Americans were attacking Afghanistan. The American’s did bear losses but your losses are far greater than theirs. Please fight your fight from afghanistan. Leave us alone, and don’t trust your “benefactors”, they will desert you if they saw more money in doing so.

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  • bashir
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:35PM

    We have ruined our country fighting with India since partion. Now, this govt wants us to fight for Haqqanis also. What a stretegy. For Gods sake get rid of all Haqqanis. Leave our country so we live in peaceRecommend

  • bashir
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:39PM

    Our govt kept on saying that Bin Laden was not in Pakistan. Now they say Haqqanis not in Pakistan Who will believe them ?

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  • Sohail
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:42PM

    Why not just give up north and south and all waziristan tension to Afghanistan. Neither the population is sincere to Pakistan nor the militants. Just give them away, and let the US Afghans handle what they have created…

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  • call me crazy
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:55PM

    i guess the taliban have made up their mind to turn pakistan into afghanistan.are pakistanis willing to pay such a price?

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  • B
    Sep 24, 2011 - 1:10PM

    Hahhahhaaaaaa this is ludicrous. Hey Mullen, by this it would appear that the Haqqanis work for you because he providing you your desired goal of attacking Pakistan. Probably made that call from one of your satellites. All Pakistanis should unite and push them out from Pakistan.Recommend

  • Noise
    Sep 24, 2011 - 1:11PM

    @Eng:Mohsin Raza

    FYI it was not the Taliban who fought the Soviets, they did not exist at that time, it was Tajik men like Ahmad Shah Masood and Bahauddin Rabbani who were foremost in fighting the soviets. Men whom the Pashtun Taliban have killed. Come back to earth Mohsin.

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  • kazi jawed akhter
    Sep 24, 2011 - 1:39PM

    USSR deminished, cold war is over,what else USA wants from Pakistan.We are still suffering thefallout of the afhgan war painted as afghan jehad by Zia ul Haque and his stooges.If Haqqani sahib is in Pakistan.I would most humbly request him to take pity on us and leave us alone.Papa bush declared the world as unipolar world.The other pole is now in making and will emerge very soon from east.

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  • Zain
    Sep 24, 2011 - 1:50PM

    As Osama bin Ladin was nightmare fro Afghanistan…I fear these Haqqani’s proved to be the same for Pakistan…

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  • Roflcopter
    Sep 24, 2011 - 2:02PM

    haha awesome

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  • Pragmatist
    Sep 24, 2011 - 2:02PM

    @biryani:
    These Taliban guys are pathological liars. Don’t take their statements seriously.

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  • MD
    Sep 24, 2011 - 2:08PM

    Look at his photograph, he reminds me of a midget warrior character in the movie “Lord of the Ring”, only thing he is missing in his hands is a huge axe!!

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  • Maher
    Sep 24, 2011 - 2:18PM

    Haqqani is supported by CIA and Pentagon same as they supported Al-Qaeeda. Sirajuddin’s interview came on an occasion when US is pressurizing Pakistan to Hunt Haqqani… Basically US lost in Afghanistan and now they want to shift the blame of their loss. So they have chosen Pakistan …. As usual of US…

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  • Juma khan Bugti
    Sep 24, 2011 - 3:31PM

    Mulla Haqqani is a veteran fighter with excellent record against Soviets. Yanks know this fact, that is why they are pressuring Pakistan to stick her neck. If it was so easy to take on Haqqanis Yankees would have taken unilateral action by now

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  • Sep 24, 2011 - 4:29PM

    Vienna,24-09-2011
    You all have good notes.Hukka Haqqani does not have.
    Americans are no popular in Af-Pak. Neither Af-Pak
    is American love target. They are at war with god men,
    women and kids of the region.Let us see who wins the
    invisible god´s visible fighters or the qafr´s unmanned
    drones with target hunting missiles.As for the common
    people in this world the racket must go on at least for
    some time.SPEND MORE ON THE MILITARY. military
    wins.
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

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  • Sep 24, 2011 - 5:01PM

    @Ali:

    They,the Americans even do not know WHY are they in Afghanistan!

    I read regularly http://www.military.com,a Forum for US soldiers,and they are saying:”We are on their turf,not they are on our turf ! It is completelly understandable why the Afgani do not want us!”

    How are they going to win this war? Most of their soldiers ask me for legal ways to laeve the US Forces.

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  • Sep 24, 2011 - 5:10PM

    @Muhammad Asif Shaikh:

    He is not sooooooooooooo insane to talk to Reuters on a SATELITE telephone.The GPS will immediately intercept his location.

    Everything is just a Spinerei(in German)…SPINNING like a spider spins a web!Recommend

  • Salman
    Sep 24, 2011 - 5:17PM

    Question is what after Haqqani ?
    First it used to be Al Qaeda now after OBL its Haqqani and its quite imminent that US will take him off anytime. Than whose next ? Mullah Umer ? and so on….what I believe now is that, US wants to put all the blame on Pakistan over their short comings. Even after 10 years of invasion with modern technology, still their highly secured zone (Kabul embassy and militarily bases) are vulnerable to Talibans.

    P.S. any one with average IQ level can figure this out that its impossible to launch coordinated attacks by crossing 200 miles with in the presence of best forces in the world. Haqqani might be hiding inside Pakistani borders but it is foolish to believe that all these Talibans attacks are one man show controlled remotely by Haqqani.

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  • Chaudhry Allah Daad
    Sep 24, 2011 - 5:30PM

    Inspite of Pakistan’s sacrifices, Pakistan is most hated country in Afghanistan.

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  • Sep 24, 2011 - 6:36PM

    Strategic asset gone wild? he listens to VOA but does he follow tweets from ISPR?

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  • y khan
    Sep 24, 2011 - 6:44PM

    Easy for haqqani to challenge the US because he will just run away to some other area. Thats what they did when the US invaded Afghanistan – they just left everything and moved to Waziristan.

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Sep 24, 2011 - 6:58PM

    It doesn’t really matter what happen to this hapless nation even if you find American boots on this soil. We have already lost our sovereignty: Drones are enough.

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  • ali
    Sep 24, 2011 - 7:00PM

    Right said…America is no friend of Pak or Muslims..After 10 year of humiliating defeat they will never set foot there…yesterday another american pawn Moshe was also supporting his masters on Kamran khan show…Recommend

  • Shahid Haider
    Sep 24, 2011 - 7:59PM

    After Osama, Obama and neoncons must produce perhaps equal or bigger, a new relevant OsamA now in the name of Haqani to lie to its taxpayers on WOT and wasting their trillion of dollars in Afghanistan false war.They are blowing up ISI-Kayani issue to scare its domestic voters to Obama-Democrats favor.They will again fall flat and ruin America as Bush and associated did.On the hand,it is better to use Haqani to honorably quit Afghanistan in stability and peace.Let USA get over with super power ego centrism Recommend

  • syed baqar ahsan
    Sep 24, 2011 - 8:10PM

    @Muhammad Asif Shaikh:
    that is the beauty of a liar this what they are doing with innocent Pakistanis for the last 60 years now we have resorted to rebuttal in some tone,at once Obama called our foreign minister to talk.Recommend

  • Hawaid khan
    Sep 24, 2011 - 8:44PM

    it is the main issue which american need to resolved by peacefull talk with pakistan ‘s leader ship without any threaten illgation to creat peace in both the coumtries.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Sep 24, 2011 - 10:09PM

    Some 55 members of his family, including his brother, have been killed in such attacks.
    .
    Seems like the drones have been pretty effective — also makes you wonder how the drones attacking N Waziristan can kill people who deny they are in Pakistan.

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  • Proud pak
    Sep 25, 2011 - 12:23AM

    @elo:
    You are a typical pakistani. Forget america and isreal and focus on our problems that we have created

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  • ashok sai
    Sep 25, 2011 - 5:34PM

    From where you get this courage man ???

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  • Organization of Pure Profit
    Sep 25, 2011 - 6:53PM

    This Sirajuddin guy looks like a Viking. Vikings have the ability to make a battleground into Sweden.

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  • HAIDER KHAN
    Sep 27, 2011 - 4:07PM

    @anybody agree!:
    FRIEND DONT SAY THIS BECAUSE ALL MUSLIMS ARE BROTHERS AND A TIME WILL COME WHEN WE WILL NEED THEM SO THEN WHAT WILL WE DO ….. WE SHOUL THINK IN THE GREATER INTERESTS OF ISLAM NOT PAKISTAN

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