Haqqani network threat to Afghan stability: US
“The Haqqani network is one of the most capable and lethal terrorist groups and poses a serious threat to the stability of the Afghan state as we approach 2014 and beyond,” Nicholas Ramussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said at a Congressional hearing.
Last month, the Department of State listed four high-ranking Haqqani members Aziz Haqqani, Khalil Haqqani, Yahya Haqqani, and Qari Abdul Rauf on the "Rewards for Justice" most-wanted list for their involvement in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and ties to al-Qa'ida, he said.
The Haqqanis have conducted numerous high-profile attacks against U.S., NATO, Afghan Government, and other allied nation targets, he said adding that in October 2013, Afghan security forces intercepted a truck bomb deployed by the Haqqanis against Forward Operating Base Goode in the Paktiya Province.
“The device, which did not detonate, contained some 61,500 pounds of explosives and constitutes the largest truck bomb ever recovered in Afghanistan,” the US official said.
Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on "Cybersecurity, Terrorism and Beyond: Addressing Evolving Threats to the Homeland," Rasmussen said Pakistani and Afghan militant groups including Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Haqqani Network, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT) continue to pose a direct threat to US interests and our allies in the region, where these groups probably will remain focused.
“We continue to watch for indicators that any of these groups, networks, or individuals are actively pursuing or have decided to incorporate operations outside of South Asia as a strategy to achieve their objectives,” he said.
“TTP remains a significant threat in Pakistan despite the ongoing Pakistan military operations in North Waziristan and leadership changes during the past year. Its claim of responsibility for the June attack on the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi that killed about 30 people underscores the threat the group poses inside the country,” he said.
The US anticipates that despite core al-Qa'ida's diminished leadership cadre, remaining members will continue to pose a threat to Western interests in South Asia and would attempt to strike the homeland should an opportunity arise, he said.
“Al-Qa'ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri's public efforts to promote individual acts of violence in the West have increased, as the Pakistan-based group's own capabilities have diminished,” he said.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.