The most deadly US foe in Afghanistan
The Haqqani network, born of the Russian war and nurtured by the CIA, is behind many spectacular assaults in Afghanistan.
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"This is where we will be staying," one says, pointing.
In the next scene from this insurgent propaganda video, one fighter shows the others a video of an empty room with a window. "You will shoot at Karzai from this window," he explains to the others. "We have people on the inside who will help you."
The assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai, which took place in April 2008 during a military parade, nearly succeeded. The president escaped, but three people died.
The fighters in this video had detailed intelligence of the area. They knew how to slip by police checkpoints, and they had people in the Afghan government telling them exactly where Mr. Karzai would be standing on the parade ground.
Afghan intelligence officials have identified one of the three men in the video as part of the assassination team. All are members of Afghanistan's most lethal group, the Haqqani network, a shadowy outfit that many officials consider to be the biggest threat to the American presence in the country.
"The Haqqani network has proven itself to be the most capable [of the insurgent groups], able to conduct spectacular attacks inside Afghanistan," says Matthew DuPee, researcher at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.
The network, which is independent of (but allied with) the Taliban, showed its mettle again on May 12, when nearly a dozen fighters stormed government buildings in Afghanistan's southeastern city of Khost. The coordinated attack featured multiple suicide bombers and was one of the most brazen to take place in the city in years.
The Haqqani network is considered the most sophisticated of Afghanistan's insurgent groups. The group is alleged to be behind many high-profile assaults, including a raid on a luxury hotel in Kabul in January 2008 and a massive car bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul that left 41 people dead in July 2008.
The group is active in Afghanistan's southeastern provinces – Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Logar, and Ghazni. In parts of Paktika, Khost, and Paktia, they have established parallel governments and control the countryside of many districts. "In Khost, government officials need letters from Haqqani just to move about on the roads in the districts," says Hanif Shah Husseini, a parliamentarian from Khost.
The leadership, according to US and Afghan sources, is based near Miramshah, North Waziristan, in the Pakistani tribal areas. Pakistani authorities and leading Haqqani figures deny this, although former Haqqani fighters say this is indeed the case.