Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a wide-ranging interview with CNN, said that the Americans never understood what the Haqqani Network was. “Haqqani Network is a tribe. It is a Pashtun tribe living in Afghanistan,” he said.
The PM went on to say that when the Afghan jihad took place, there were five million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. “Amongst them a few were Haqqanis and Haqqanis were the Mujahideen fighting the Soviets… they were born in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan,” he said. He added that there were three million people living in Afghan refugee camps and Pakistan was responsible to check which one of them were Taliban and which were not.
The prime minister’s statement on Haqqani Network is, however, factually incorrect. Many commentators took to social media to correct the PM. Ironically, he first blamed the US for not understanding the Haqqani Network and then proceeded to make an ill-informed comment about the origins of the group himself.
What is Haqqani Network?
After the announcement of the new government of Taliban in Afghanistan, the Haqqani Network has emerged as the most powerful group as four Haqqanis are part of the interim setup.
The Haqqani Network is named after the leader of the group Jalaluddin Haqqani. Haqqani was first a fighter for the Soviet Army in Afghanistan and was said to be a loyal ally of the CIA.
He later turned against the US and NATO forces, often reportedly operating from North Waziristan. Pakistan is accused of having given safe haven to the group in its tribal areas — a charge the country denies.