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Kabul [Afghanistan] August 27 (ANI): Taliban's hostile takeover of Afghanistan had elevated one of the most violent and radical branches of Islamic terrorism, the Haqqani network, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The network is closely linked to al Qaeda and is involved in the hostage-taking of Westerners, and currently holds at least one American citizen captive, according to US officials.
"I do not believe that anyone in the West fully understands the reach of the Haqqani network," said retired Lt. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, a former director of strategy for the National Counterterrorism Center.
"It is the single most impressive nonstate terrorist group I have ever seen, with the exception of ISIS in the first two years of the caliphate," he added.
A few days after the Taliban's victory, Khalil Haqqani, brother of the group's founder, Jalaluddin, addressed the faithful in public in Kabul's Pol-e Khishti Mosque last week--despite a USD 5 million US bounty on his head, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Khalil, along with his close aid, Anas Haqqani also met several former Afghan senior officials for talks about a more inclusive government that could gain international recognition.
The network's de facto leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin, has also worked closely with bin Laden's top lieutenant and al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, according to files recovered in bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.
"The Haqqanis expose the lie that there is a line between Taliban and other jihadist groups, especially al Qaeda," said H.R. McMaster, a national-security adviser in the Trump administration and former deputy commander for U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.
For the past number of years, Afghan officials have also accused the terrorists of the Haqqani network of facilitating deadly attacks on civilians by providing the Islamic State's local affiliate with technical assistance and access to criminal networks in Kabul, The Wall Street Journal said.(ANI)