[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
COMBATING THE HAQQANI TERRORIST NETWORK
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TERRORISM, NONPROLIFERATION, AND TRADE
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012
Serial No. 112-177
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
DAN BURTON, Indiana GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ELTON GALLEGLY, California ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois BRAD SHERMAN, California
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
RON PAUL, Texas RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
MIKE PENCE, Indiana ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
JOE WILSON, South Carolina GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
CONNIE MACK, Florida THEODORE E. DEUTCH,
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska Florida
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas DENNIS CARDOZA, CaliforniaUntil 8/
TED POE, Texas 14/12 deg.
GUS M. BILIRAKIS, Florida BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
JEAN SCHMIDT, Ohio BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
BILL JOHNSON, Ohio ALLYSON SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania
DAVID RIVERA, Florida CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut
MIKE KELLY, Pennsylvania FREDERICA WILSON, Florida
TIM GRIFFIN, Arkansas KAREN BASS, California
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, New York
RENEE ELLMERS, North Carolina
ROBERT TURNER, New York
Yleem D.S. Poblete, Staff Director
Richard J. Kessler, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California, Chairman
TED POE, Texas BRAD SHERMAN, California
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
BILL JOHNSON, Ohio GERALD E. CONNOLLY,
TIM GRIFFIN, Arkansas Virginia
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, New York BRIAN HIGGINS, New YorkRemoved 6/
RENEE ELLMERS, North Carolina 19/12 deg.
ALLYSON SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania
C O N T E N T S
Ms. Lisa Curtis, senior research fellow, Asian Studies Center,
The Heritage Foundation........................................ 7
Mr. Jeffrey Dressler, senior research analyst, Institute for the
Study of War................................................... 20
Ms. Gretchen Peters, author, Haqqani Network Financing........... 28
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Edward R. Royce, a Representative in Congress from
the State of California, and chairman, Subcommittee on
Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade: Prepared statement..... 3
Ms. Lisa Curtis: Prepared statement.............................. 10
Mr. Jeffrey Dressler: Prepared statement......................... 22
Ms. Gretchen Peters: Prepared statement.......................... 31
Hearing notice................................................... 50
Hearing minutes.................................................. 51
The Honorable Gerald E. Connolly, a Representative in Congress
from the Commonwealth of Virginia: Prepared statement.......... 53
COMBATING THE HAQQANI TERRORIST NETWORK
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2012
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Terrorism,
Nonproliferation, and Trade,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:08 p.m., in
room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Edward R. Royce
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Royce. This hearing of the subcommittee will come to
This hearing title is ``Combating the Haqqani Terrorist
Network.'' We are examining a terrorist network that the State
Department has just decided to designate as a Foreign Terrorist
Organization. And yesterday, we were all saddened and angered
over the killing of an American diplomat and three other U.S.
Government personnel during an attack on our consulate in
Benghazi, Libya. Exactly 1 year ago today, it was the Haqqani
network that launched a 20-hour long assault on the U.S.
Embassy compound in Kabul. And that attack left 16 Afghans
It was after this attack that our then top military officer
pronounced the Haqqani network a ``veritable arm'' of the
Pakistani ISI used to pursue its paranoid policy of ``strategic
depth'' in Afghanistan. The Haqqani base of operation in
Pakistan's tribal area of North Waziristan is the most
important militant haven in the region. Al-Qaeda is said to
train and plan attacks under the protection of the Haqqani
network from their bases there. Indeed one prominent report
finds that ``the Haqqani network has been more important to the
development and sustainment of al-Qaeda and the global jihad
than any other single actor or group.'' The Haqqanis have
plenty of blood on their own hands, killing U.S. and coalition
Yet the State Department more than dragged its feet in
doing the obvious, which would have been to blacklist the
Haqqani network. Despite calls from U.S. commanders to act, it
kept the case under lengthy review. Frustrated, Congress--on a
bipartisan basis--unanimously passed the Haqqani Network
Terrorist Designation Act of 2012, and that legislation was
signed into law last month. This act spurred last week's
designation announcement, which apparently was not an easy one
for the administration to make. Without congressional pressure,
I am sure the Haqqanis would have been under permanent review,
further shortchanging our efforts against it.
This hearing is about looking ahead though. What can we do
now? In this regard, it is too bad the State Department was
unable to provide a witness to discuss what this designation
will mean operationally.
The Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation sets
the stage to attack the vast financial network supporting the
Haqqanis. And as we will hear today, this outfit has built an
empire out of kidnappings, out of extortion, out of their
smuggling operations. Arab donors from the Middle East,
trucking firms, car dealerships, real estate. The financial
streams running into North Waziristan are very diverse and
widespread. We have many targets.
As one witness notes, while they have faced military
pressure, ``the Haqqanis have never had to deal with a
sustained and systemic campaign against their financial
infrastructure.'' As Ms. Peters will testify, such a campaign,
in concert with military efforts, could even bring the Haqqani
network to the point of ``collapse.'' That is optimistic but at
least now possible with the Foreign Terrorist Organization
designation that has been made.
This subcommittee has looked at U.S. Government financial
squeezes on others: The North Korean criminal state, arms
dealers, such as Victor Bout, A.Q. Khan, and Hezbollah. Success
has required sustained support and leadership from the very
top. Given the administration's dithering on the Haqqani
designation, it is right to be concerned about its will to
execute an aggressive financial campaign against that entity.
Concluding, this cannot be a case of designate and forget.
It is clear that continued congressional pressure will be
needed to ensure that this was just a step toward hammering the
And I will now turn to our ranking member, Mr. Sherman from
California, for his opening statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Royce follows:]
Mr. Sherman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman for holding these
hearings. I want to join with you in our expression of both
regret and anger as to the death of our diplomats in Benghazi.
And I know that the administration is responding with urgency
to work with the Libyan Government to bring these attackers to
Now the focus of our hearing. The Haqqani network based in
Pakistan's tribal areas is commonly viewed as the most lethal
force battling us in Afghanistan. The group is responsible for
many high profile attacks, including the attack on the U.S.
Embassy in Kabul in September 2011. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton formally announced the designation of the militant
Haqqani network responsible for these deadly attacks as a
terrorist organization last Friday. I commend the Obama
administration and the Secretary of State for making this
The Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2012 was
passed by this Congress and called upon the State Department to
report within 30 days on the issue of designating the Haqqani
network. I cosponsored that bill and also cosponsored a House
bill with our colleague Ted Poe which would have simply taken
the matter out of the administration's hands and designated
what we all knew to be true and that by any definition, and
certainly the definition of our laws, the Haqqani network was a
terrorist organization and remains so today.
This designation last Friday was not the first action taken
against the Haqqani, either legal or kinetic. Several Haqqani
network members were already on the U.S. Government's list of
specially designated global terrorists. The administration has
posted a $5 million reward leading to the capture of one of the
group's leaders and killed the main leader's son who was also
an operational figure. This is an organization, the Haqqani
network, that works hand in hand with the Taliban and has a
history of supporting al-Qaeda.
Most worryingly, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, Admiral Mullen, testified before Congress that the
Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistani
intelligence, the ISI. The admiral also noted that with ISI
support Haqqani operatives planned and conducted the assault on
the U.S. Embassy in September 2011.
So this is a terrorist organization that seems to be
benefiting from moneys of the U.S. taxpayer in two ways. First,
we provide a lot of aid to Pakistan with insufficient control.
Much of that ends up in the hands of the ISI, and the ISI then
supports the Haqqani network.
Second, our use of private contractors to get supplies into
Afghanistan, combined with the fact that we maintain 85,000 or
more troops there, means that these private contractors
sometimes find it profitable to pay protection money to the
Haqqanis. So both our foreign aid funds and our military
operations funds can find their way into Haqqani hands.
The Haqqani network has a sophisticated financial means,
according to recent studies. The organization raises money from
those who are ideologically sympathetic donors, but also gets
profit from smuggling the protection payments and
transportation that I have previously mentioned, et cetera.
In fact, the labeling of the Haqqani network as a terrorist
organization is necessary but not sufficient. Now is the time
for the State Department and Transportation Department to ramp
up efforts to go after the network's global finances and
businesses and front companies.
We also have to change our policy toward Pakistan. Part of
that is reaching out to the Pakistani people. We should no
longer kowtow to Islamabad when they tell us that the Voice of
America should broadcast only in Urdu. It is time to reach out
to the Pakistani people in other languages, particularly
southern Pakistan in the language of Sindhi. And it is time for
us to try to go around the military-dominated political forces
in Islamabad and reach out to the Pakistani people while at the
same time conditioning our aid on different policies of the
And I yield back.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Mr. Sherman.
We will go now to Mr. Connolly of Virginia for 3 minutes
for your opening statement.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to
commend the State Department for declaring the Haqqani network
as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, however long overdue that
designation might have been. But I want to join with the
chairman in expressing disappointment that the State Department
is not represented here today. I think they owe the
subcommittee and the Congress a fuller explanation for how and
why we got to that determination and operationally, as the
chairman suggested, what it means moving forward.
Responsibility to account to the Congress is a constitutional
responsibility and it is not a matter of when and if the
administration chooses to respond to Congress' request to
testify before a subcommittee such as this.
I must say the designation, however, raises as many
questions as it provides answers. What does it mean with our
drawdown in Afghanistan just across the border given the
impunity with which the Haqqani network now operates in that
part of Pakistan? What does it mean that there is clear and
documented evidence that the ISI, the Pakistani ISI, has long
provided overt protection, including security protection, to
leaders of the Haqqani network within the Pakistani borders?
And what does that mean for the level of cooperation that is
actually cited in the designation announcement in which
Pakistan was referred to as an extremely valuable ally in
countering extremism and terrorism? How does that comport with
overwhelming evidence that one branch of the Pakistani
Government is not cooperating in those endeavors at all when it
comes to the Haqqani network?
So I am looking forward, Mr. Chairman, to this hearing and
to the testimony to be provided. And like you, I wish the State
Department were represented here. I think they should be. Thank
you so much for holding the hearing.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Mr. Connolly.
Ms. Lisa Curtis is the senior research fellow for South
Asia at the Heritage Foundation. And before joining Heritage,
she served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff and
at the State Department and at the Central Intelligence Agency.
She has appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
numerous times. It is good to have you back.
Mr. Jeffrey Dressler is a senior research analyst and leads
the Afghanistan and Pakistan team at the Institute for the
Study of War. He has written several extensive reports on the
Haqqani network. Mr. Dressler was invited to Afghanistan in
July 2010 and participated in a team conducting research for
General David Petraeus.
And lastly, we have Ms. Gretchen Peters, a researcher and
author. In July, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
published her extensive thesis, ``Haqqani Network Financing:
The Evolution of an Industry.'' She is also author of a book,
``Seeds of Terror,'' which traces the role of the opium trade
We will start with Ms. Curtis.
STATEMENT OF MS. LISA CURTIS, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, ASIAN
STUDIES CENTER, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Ms. Curtis. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Ranking
Mr. Royce. I am going to ask you to push the button there.
Ms. Curtis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member
Sherman, and the rest of the distinguished committee for
inviting me here today.
The Obama administration's designation of the Haqqani
network as a terrorist organization was certainly a welcomed if
not long overdue step. The Heritage Foundation has been calling
for this designation for a year, ever since the Haqqani network
attacked the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on this day a year ago. This
designation will facilitate U.S. goals in Afghanistan by
pressuring Pakistan to deal effectively with this deadly group
and assisting the U.S. in attacking the group's financial
Since Pakistan has failed over the last 3 years to either
take military action against the group or to bring this group
to compromise at the negotiating table, the U.S. had little
choice but to corner Islamabad on the issue. Pakistani
officials had repeatedly questioned why they should take
military action when U.S. policy toward the group was
ambiguous. With this designation, the U.S. leaves no doubt on
where it stands on the issue and thus removes a major Pakistani
excuse for failing to take action.
Up to this point, Pakistani military officials seem to have
calculated that the U.S. would acquiesce to a strong Haqqani
role in any future political dispensation in Afghanistan. Now
the U.S. has signaled that instead it would work to prevent the
Haqqanis from re-establishing their base in Afghanistan.
I think people are generally familiar with who are the
Haqqanis, but let me briefly talk about who they are.
Jalaluddin Haqqani is a powerful, independent, militant leader
whose followers operate mainly in eastern Afghanistan in the
provinces of Paktia, Paktika, and Khost. They operate from
their headquarters in North Waziristan in Pakistan's tribal
Jalaluddin Haqqani has been allied with the Afghan Taliban
for over 16 years, having served as the tribal affairs minister
in the Taliban regime in the late 1990s. His son Sirajuddin is
now the operational commander of the group.
The Haqqani network of course has been a major facilitator
of the Taliban insurgency, having conducted some of the
fiercest attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, Afghanistan
civilians, and U.S. civilian interests. The source of the
Haqqanis' power stems mainly from their ability to forge
relations with a variety of terrorist groups in the region as
well as with the Pakistani intelligence service. Pakistani
military strategists view the Haqqani network as their most
effective tool for blunting Indian influence in Afghanistan.
The overarching goal of the U.S. should be to end
Islamabad's dual policies toward terrorism. Islamabad's
continuing support for the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and
other terrorist groups is jeopardizing the entire U.S. and NATO
mission in Afghanistan.
It is true that Pakistan has facilitated efforts to degrade
al-Qaeda's capabilities. We have shared intelligence with the
Pakistanis. Pakistan has helped us capture key al-Qaeda
leaders. And for all its complaints about drones, Pakistan has
never taken direct hostile actions against the drone program.
Still, Islamabad's inconsistent approach to terrorism is
undermining the stability of the state. It is no secret that
several thousand Pakistani civilians and security forces have
been killed in attacks by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the
TTP. So it is simply confounding that Pakistan's military would
support the Haqqani network when it cooperates with the TTP.
Let me say a few words about peace talks. One of the most
frequent arguments against designating the Haqqani network was
that it could upset efforts to engage in peace negotiations.
But the Haqqanis have had ample chance to engage in
negotiations. And it should be noted that only 1 month after
the U.S. met with Jalaluddin Haqqani's brother Hajji Ibrahim
Haqqani a year ago, it was only 1 month later that the Haqqani
network attacked our Embassy in Afghanistan, clearly signaling
their lack of interest in negotiations.
The administration must avoid the temptation to pin false
hopes on a political reconciliation process merely to justify a
troop withdrawal. Political reconciliation is desirable but
only if it contributes to the goal of ensuring that Afghanistan
never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.
Any political solution with the Taliban must, one, preserve
the human rights improvements of the past decade; two, maintain
the integrity of the democratic political process; three,
ensure the Taliban has broken ranks with al-Qaeda; and four,
make sure the U.S. maintains the capability to retain a troop
presence for counterterrorism and training missions well beyond
So in conclusion, the onus is on Pakistan to demonstrate it
is willing to squeeze insurgents on its territory and to use
its leverage with these groups to bring them to compromise.
Otherwise the U.S. and NATO must try to isolate Pakistan in the
region and limit its ability to influence developments in
Afghanistan. It should be clear that unless Pakistan supports
the U.S.-led strategy in Afghanistan, it will sacrifice U.S.
aid and diplomatic engagement. The U.S. will look toward other
like-minded partners in the region and even be prepared to
block IMF and World Bank loans which are critical to the health
of the Pakistani economy.
The way Pakistan deals with Afghanistan over the next 2
years will have a lasting impact on how it is viewed and
treated by the international community. Pakistani brinkmanship
in Afghanistan would likely carry high costs for the country
over the long term.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Ms. Curtis.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Curtis follows:]
Mr. Royce. We are going to, due to the votes, take a recess
for approximately 25 minutes after which time we will resume.
So in the interim, we stand in recess. Thank you.
Mr. Royce. The committee will come to order.
Let me recap, because earlier I mentioned the role that
Congress played in getting the Haqqani network designated as an
FTO. But also key to that was the information being put out by
private researchers. And we are joined today by three of these
expert witnesses who have worked on this subject matter. And we
are now going to go to Mr. Jeffrey Dressler for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF MR. JEFFREY DRESSLER, SENIOR RESEARCH ANALYST,
INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR
Mr. Dressler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member
Sherman, and committee members, for inviting me to testify
about the Haqqani network Foreign Terrorist Organization with
historical and enduring ties to al-Qaeda and their affiliates
that poses a threat to American national security interests.
Accordingly, it is imperative to focus all available
instruments of U.S. Military and economic power against the
The Haqqani network is responsible for the vast majority of
the most heinous attacks against U.S. international
organizations, Afghan forces, and innocent Afghan civilians.
Some of the most notable attacks include a June 2012 raid of a
lakeside hotel in Kabul killing 18 and two September 2011
attacks, one on the U.S. Embassy and ISAF headquarters and
another attack consisting of a suicide truck bombing of U.S.
Combat outposts in Wardak province, injuring 77 U.S. soldiers.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani network, no
longer heads the tribal insurgency limited to remote regions of
southeastern Afghanistan. His organization is not simply a
Mafia-like criminal network solely focused on maximizing
profits. The network's vast licit and illicit financial
enterprise enables them to pursue their strategic and
operational objectives. They maintain a working partnership
with groups like al-Qaeda and its allies and affiliates to
include Lashkar-e-Taiba, which conducted the Mumbai attacks,
and a litany of other terrorist actors. Haqqani has provided
lethal support to those groups as they pursue an international
global jihadist agenda. The network maintains a national reach
and has national level objectives, which I am happy to
elaborate on the in the Q&A period.
Although the Haqqani network's historical area of influence
was limited to the southeastern provinces of Khost, Paktia and
Paktika, the network has slowly spread into the surrounding
provinces surrounding Kabul. The Haqqani network's presence in
Wardak, Logar, Nangarhar, Kapisa and Laghman provinces
facilitates their attacks in Kabul, and the network generates
revenues for those attacks through kidnapping, extortion, and
In northern Afghanistan, the Haqqani network is closely
partnered with terrorist organizations such as the Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan and local insurgent groups who depend on
the Haqqani network's facilitation, command and control, and
finances. This relationship affords the Haqqani network a
disproportionate amount of influence in northern Afghanistan
relative to its physical presence. In the north, Haqqani
network fighters have engaged in destabilizing assassinations
of key northern political military figures, such as General
Saeed Kili, the former Kunduz police chief, General Daud Daud,
the northern zone police commander, and more recently, Ahmed
Samangani, a prominent parliamentarian assassinated at his
daughter's wedding. Of course the Haqqanis have also attempted
unsuccessful assassinations of Bismullah Kahn and Fahim Kahn,
key leaders of Afghanistan's Tajik block. If this trend
continues, it could provoke Tajik leadership to withdraw from
the government in Kabul, which could be the catalyst for a
national level civil war reminiscent of the 1990s but perhaps
in this case even more brutal. Furthermore, if the Haqqani-led
presence in the north continues to expand, it could provide a
platform for the spread of terrorist attacks in Central Asia
spearheaded by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
However, the threat from the Haqqani network is not simply
an Afghanistan-specific problem. The network also represents a
threat to regional stability. In Pakistan's tribal areas, the
Haqqanis' relationship and stature amongst myriad terrorist
groups with local regional and international agendas continue
to expand. Although the Haqqani network has not directly
orchestrated an international terrorist plot, they are
supportive and committed to an international jihadist ideology
and have provided shelter, training, protection, and resources
to groups who have attempted to execute international terrorist
plots, to include al-Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,
the German Jihad Mujahedin, and of course Lashkar-e-Taiba,
among many others. The Haqqanis are now seen as the most lethal
facilitator of terrorist groups in the region and yet at the
same time continue to serve as key interlocutors between the
Pakistani security services and anti-Pakistan groups, such as
the TTP, or the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. For this reason and
because the Haqqanis continue to serve as proxy forces for
elements of Pakistan's security establishment, they have been
allowed to operate with relative impunity and in some cases
have received active facilitation and support.
In closing, designating the Haqqani network as a Foreign
Terrorist Organization and as a specially designated global
terrorist entity is of both substantive and symbolic
importance. The intelligence community must prioritize
identifying and analyzing the Haqqani network's global economic
enterprise, including second and third party individuals and
institutions who conduct business with the network in Pakistan
and abroad. Furthermore, as is the case with most specially
designated global terrorist entities, the Haqqani network
should be added to the United Nations al-Qaeda sanctions list,
which would pave the way for flight bans for network members
and additional measures aimed at undermining the network's
Last but not least, U.S. policymakers must raise awareness
of the Haqqani network financial operations in Gulf states such
as the UAE and urge all relevant foreign governments to assist
with efforts to target and restrict the Haqqani network's
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, committee members, for the
opportunity to appear before you today, and of course I look
forward to answering your questions.
Mr. Royce. Thank you very much, Mr. Dressler.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Dressler follows:]
Mr. Royce. We will now go to Ms. Peters.
STATEMENT OF MS. GRETCHEN PETERS, AUTHOR, HAQQANI NETWORK
Ms. Peters. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and to Ranking Member
Sherman and to the respected members of the subcommittee.
We have seen this week in Libya why as a country we must
remain vigilant about the problem of extremist terrorists
around the world. And I strongly believe that the Haqqani
network is the type of threat network that the United States
needs to remain vigilant against and also take action against.
Since 2005, I have spent a great deal of my time studying
the links between organized crime and insurgency in Afghanistan
and Pakistan. I have studied among other groups the Quetta
Shura branch of the Taliban, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, Lashkar-
e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jangvi, al-Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan. And most recently, I have spent the better part of
the last 2 years looking at the Haqqani network's financial
Now it is well known, as both of have you have commented
previously, that the Haqqanis are the most ruthless and violent
faction of the Taliban and also that they have the capacity to
launch spectacular attacks against U.S. installations and other
important sites in the capital Kabul and around Afghanistan. We
all know that they have hosted, facilitated, and networked with
all sorts of bad actors around the region, from other extremist
groups like al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban whom they
continue to work with closely, and also criminal networks like
Dawood Ibrahim's D-Company.
What is less known, what even came as a surprise to me, was
the extent of their criminal business network. This is not only
the most ruthless and violent network in Afghanistan and
Pakistan, it is also the most diversified from a business
Now most of the groups that I have looked into, that I
named before, engage in some sort of protecting smuggling or
smuggling themselves, usually narcotics, sometimes other
resources like timber or gemstones. The Haqqanis are also
involved in that. Many of the groups also engage in kidnapping
and extortion. The Haqqanis are involved in all of that. And I
would say they systematically extort all business that takes
place in their areas of operation. One of the things that we
found from interviewing community members and business leaders
in the areas that the Haqqanis operate is that business does
not get done unless the Haqqanis profit off it and condone it
in their areas.
Now on top of that, they also get involved in a lot of
other businesses that we don't see other networks involved in.
Smuggling of timber, gemstones, mining operations, chromite and
marble, electronics import and export, clothing, cooking oil
and other food products. They run construction companies. Some
of these construction companies have even gotten contracts by
the coalition for USAID projects in the region. They raise an
enormous amount of money from ideological donors and also run
fundraising programs at mosques around the region, not just in
Afghanistan and Pakistan but as far away as the Emirates and
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
They also, as my colleague Mr. Dressler mentioned, engage
in what I would call--they act sort of like guns for hire. They
will do work for the Pakistan Government, or the Pakistan's
ISI. They will assassinate people around Afghanistan. They will
work for other branches of the Taliban. They will even carry
out killings, targeted killings, to settle scores between
business people and the community.
So in other words, they operate very much like a
sophisticated transnational Mafia network. They have expanded
their area of operations inside of Afghanistan, as Jeff
mentioned. They have also expanded across the region and really
around the world. We found evidence of operations that extended
as far away as South Africa--meaning they do--again, I want to
stress the point that this is a transnational operation with
bank accounts and entities that they own in areas where the
U.S. can access them through the legal authorities that we
have. I can't say for sure how much they earn. I think it is a
mistake for people like me to try and put estimates on criminal
earnings. But what I can say with absolute surety is they earn
a lot more money than they spend. And we need to I believe put
together a task force to figure out more specifically where
that money is and start seizing it, and freezing it.
They continue to collaborate on criminal and terrorist
activities with the Pakistani Taliban, the Quetta Shura
Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other groups in the region. This is the
most clear with their criminal activities, particularly
smuggling and kidnapping. I interviewed about a half a dozen
people who had been kidnapped by the Haqqanis. They all
described seamless cooperation between the Haqqanis and other
networks, including the Pakistani Taliban. And I would like to
just very briefly make the point that some Pakistani officials
will describe the Haqqanis as the ``good Taliban,'' the Taliban
that they can work with. When you start following the money,
when you start looking into their criminal activities, they are
working very, very closely with the Taliban that the Pakistanis
considered the ``bad Taliban.'' And I think this network is as
much a risk to Pakistan as it is to the United States.
I also believe that their relationship with the ISI,
although close--and this is a relationship that has lasted
since the 1970s, Jalaluddin Haqqani was one of the first Afghan
Islamists to emerge and to work very closely with the ISI, even
prior to the Soviet arrival in Afghanistan. But today the
relations with the ISI are much more fraught than many
outsiders imagine. The ISI certainly is able to get the
Haqqanis to engage in certain activities for them, but it would
be a stretch to say that they control them or that they trust
I think that this is an organization that has a number of
vulnerabilities that could be exploited if there is a
systematic effort to attack their financial infrastructure.
Among other things, this is a very small and centralized
network at the top. Last month, an air strike killed Badaruddin
Haqqani, the operations chief of the network. Earlier this
year, U.S. forces captured Hajji Mali Khan, one of their
leading commanders. Last year, a drone strike killed Jan Baz
Zadran. I believe that the network will start to really crumble
if they suffer many more high level losses like that. However,
it is going to be very difficult to get to some of those people
because they are not in Afghanistan. They are not even in the
tribal areas. They are hiding deep inside Pakistan.
One of the things I had the opportunity to do with this
report I did with CTC was to go through documents that are
inside the military's Harmony database. We went through
thousands of documents pertaining to the business side of the
Haqqanis that had been seized from their safe houses and pocket
litter that was found on commanders and fighters that had been
captured. One thing that was very striking when we laid out all
of those receipts and documents and payroll records and
property records that they had, was the extent to which the
Haqqanis are really a Pakistani organization. The only receipts
we found from Afghanistan were from petrol stations. Their ID
cards, their residences, their hospital bills, everything they
purchased, the command and the control of this organization is
in Pakistan and not in the FATA or not in the tribal areas,
deep inside Pakistan, records that extended down into Karachi,
into Lahore, Rawalpindi. And I think it is important to
recognize the extent to which this network is integrated
through the region. We also know of extensive property holdings
in the UAE, Shargah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. And I think that
there is growing awareness in the Emirati states that groups
like the Haqqanis, because of their involvement in narcotics
and other organized crime, are a threat to stability there too.
So I feel like as we move forward, one challenge is going
to be for U.S. diplomats and military attaches to work with our
counterparts in Pakistan and the UAE and other parts of the
Gulf to raise awareness of the threats that this and other
groups like them pose.
A designation, to me, is like an arrest warrant. It can be
completely meaningless if there is not action to follow it up.
And I hope that Congress and the committee members here today
encourages the administration to follow up by creating a task
force of financial and fraud investigators, logistical and
supply chain experts, intelligence and law enforcement
officers, and subject matter experts to spend say 4 or 5 months
really mapping out the financial side of this network and
figuring out where the vulnerable nodes are and what
authorities we have to attack it.
This has been done before in operations against the Cali
cartel, the Medellin cartel, more recently, La Familia
Michoacana in Mexico. There is an ongoing operation against
Hezbollah which has been tremendously successful. We can do
this. It is a question of the political will to follow it up
and properly resource the investigators and the experts we have
here in Washington and in places like Tampa who can do this.
There is an old Robin Williams joke that divorce is like
tearing a man's heart out through his wallet. And I always make
the comment that I think increasingly when we are facing
nonstate adversaries, irregular warfare is going to be like
tearing their hearts out through their wallets. They don't have
infrastructural facilities that we can go after to try and
weaken them. To really degrade their capacity to project force,
we are going to have to go after their financial assets. Left
in place, I fear that this group is in a strong position to
take control of the territory in southeast Afghanistan and down
into North Waziristan and parts of the FATA and I believe that
they will continue to provide safe haven and to facilitate the
activities of other militant and terrorist actors who seek to
do the United States harm.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Peters follows:]
Mr. Royce. And I thank you for that testimony. But I would
assume you would add to that that it would be impossible to
negotiate any kind of an arrangement for Afghanistan with the
Haqqanis that wouldn't end up being an embarrassment and a
threat frankly to the United States long term.
Ms. Peters. As a former journalist, I covered efforts to
negotiate with a variety of branches of the Taliban since 1996,
back to the days when they blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas, about
28 efforts by the U.S. State Department to get the Taliban to
hand over Osama bin Laden, and a number of peace deals that the
Pakistan Government made with the Pakistani Taliban and the
Haqqanis and others. They always fail. I don't believe that
reconciliation is possible with these organizations. And there
are clear indications that, as in the past, they hope to get
what they can out of reconciliation efforts, to get us to
release prisoners back to them and then not hold up their end
of the bargain.
Mr. Royce. So instead, cut off the resources is your point.
And I believe you stated it very, very well.
One of the other observations is that this particular
organization manages to run a lot of these Deobandi schools or
particular madrasas, which are Deobandi madrasas. And out of
these schools, as I think you note, the graduates manage to
replace the losses if they lose about 150 fighters a month.
That comes right out of the graduates of the school system.
Ms. Peters. Absolutely.
Mr. Royce. One of the questions I would ask you, because I
have been in Pakistan three times petitioning the government to
try to get them to close these particular Deobandi schools.
First, why won't they close them? And second, is it true that
some of the resources to maintain these schools come from the
Gulf states? Or do you think that the revenue is now generated
for the Deobandi schools internally through the graft and
corruption and kidnapping and so forth?
Ms. Peters. I haven't specifically looked into funding of
the Deobandi madrasas but I do believe--and I know that
historically, a lot of the funding for them came from the Gulf
states and that funding Islamic education was a popular place
for wealthy Arabs to send their money in Pakistan.
Some of these schools--I have been to the Haqqania mosque
in Akora Khattak on a number of occasions. This is where
Jalaluddin Haqqani trained and where he took his name from. It
has at any given time about 10,000 to 15,000 students. It is an
enormous compound. And there are I believe about 10,000
madrasas across Pakistan. Not all of them bad.
Mr. Royce. But we are talking now about these particular
Deobandi schools, which is what I want to focus on because we
have a list of the ones that purportedly churn out the
fighters. We know from some of the messaging that goes on in
these schools which ones are doing it. So does the government
So my question to the witnesses here is what happened to
the political will to shut down these particular schools? We
have been up to see schools that have been set up--public
schools to compete. And the Haqqanis come in and blow those
schools up. And yet there is no effort to close down the very
schools that frankly represent a threat to the state, to the
Pakistani Government itself. Why not? What is the intimidation
or whatever it is that prevents that from happening? And I will
ask each of the witnesses their view.
Mr. Dressler. Sir, I think from the Haqqani perspective and
from the view of elements of Pakistan security services, the
recruits and the fighters that these schools are churning out
are going to work for the Haqqani network, are going to work
for the Quetta Shura Taliban. And as long as those
organizations continue to be supported by elements of the
security services, both current and retired, in pursuit of
their strategic objectives in Afghanistan, then it would be
counterproductive for them to go after these madrasas.
And of course your point that some of these fighters are
being turned against the Pakistani state is exactly the point
and is exactly the danger of sponsoring proxy groups for the
exportation of terror. And I think Gretchen mentioned this
during her oral testimony, that ultimately this can go bad for
the state. And it is a reason why I think yourself and others
have highlighted this as a problematic policy. So that is what
I would say.
Mr. Royce. Ms. Curtis.
Ms. Curtis. Yes. Pakistan's policy of relying on violent
militants for strategic objectives goes all the way back to the
partition of the subcontinent. So this is a problem with the
thinking within the military establishment in particular. There
is a perception that these motivated Islamist fighters serve a
purpose for Pakistan. So that is why they are not shutting down
Now there may be some thinking that is starting to evolve,
some concern that a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan would
actually not be good for Pakistan. A lot of the Pakistani
soldiers who are fighting in the tribal areas and dying, some
of those commanders may be waking up to the fact that these
groups are a threat to the Pakistani state. But we have not
seen that overall shift that we have been looking for within
the senior Pakistan military leadership. And that is why in my
testimony, I have indicated that we have to be willing to step
up the pressure to help them understand that they need to do
what is in their own interest because they simply have not been
able to overcome the fear that they will be subsumed by India,
and so I think it is really a problem with the thinking within
the military establishment.
Mr. Royce. Let me conclude my questions with one point
relating back to a point that Ms. Peters made in her written
testimony, which was that the degree of extortion that occurs
here impacts also contractors that are working in this
geographic area. And on that subject, if that extortion is
netting tens of millions of dollars for the Haqqani network,
what types of requirements on U.S. contractors should be
deployed in your opinion in this circumstance in order to be
part of the solution in terms of cutting off the valve or the
resources that goes into the Haqqani network?
When you could put a halt immediately on U.S. aid into
those areas, that would be the most direct and swift way to put
an end to the possibility of getting resources towards--for
that type of extortion on U.S. contractors. But go ahead.
Ms. Peters. And that is what I wrote in my testimony. I am
often asked what the U.S. Government could do to affect the
amount of money reaching the Haqqanis. And I always say that
there is something we could do that would affect it tomorrow
and that is stop the development and CERD aid that is pouring
into those areas. It is well intentioned but it is not well
monitored. We are putting too much money out there. And I think
there is a very big risk that we are doing more harm than good,
that we are fueling instability and funding the very
adversaries that we seek to defeat.
The trucking issue that you appropriately zero in on is
trickier because we still need to supply our troops who are
there. I would suggest that there is a far too complex a system
of contracting and subcontracting and subcontracting of
trucking companies, and we should find trusted entities that we
work with who carry goods from Karachi to their end state
sealed, where the payments get made into--where there is a
capacity to follow the money instead of what we have now: Where
we pay Pakistan's National Logistic Cell a lump sum every year
and it is very hard to follow.
There was an investigation, in fact, done by Pakistan's own
Federal Board of Revenue into the container scandal that
included--it was thousands of containers that went missing. So
this is also a concern to certain parts of the Pakistani state,
that they are not collecting revenue on a lot of the stuff that
is moving across.
Mr. Royce. Let me just make one observation. I have been up
to the Northwest Frontier and in these areas around Peshawar
and so forth. Our USAID employees do not go out because it is
too dangerous for them. So the thesis that we are going to have
effective monitoring is unrealistic. And that is why I think
you get back to the other broader assumption that programs in
these areas are going to be subject to extortion. And so the
tougher decision is coming face to face with reality that this
is providing tens of millions of dollars. The cause is a good
cause, but it is not having the desired results, and therefore,
we have to develop a different approach.
I think the focus should be on the recommendations and the
type of recommendations, Ms. Peters, that you made here today
and that your colleagues here have made.
I am going to go to Mr. Sherman, the ranking member, for
Mr. Sherman. Thank you. A couple of comments. One is that
we ought to be doing as much as we can to aid education in
Pakistan and particularly to make sure that parents don't have
to pay for the textbooks. If we pay for the textbooks, they may
not be politically correct by U.S. standards but they won't
have, you know, chapters in favor of extremist jihad.
The second thing I will point out is that by having 85,000
or more troops in Afghanistan, we require ourselves to have
this huge logistical effort which means the enemy will live off
our logistical effort. If we have fewer troops, we would have
less logistics and hopefully much of that could be supplied
through the northern route. We can't just look at what is the
cheapest way to bring supplies into Afghanistan. If it costs
150 percent as much to move them through Russia but we know
that none of the money is going to the Haqqani network, every
dollar that goes to the Haqqani network probably does us as
much harm as $5 or $10 or $15.
Ms. Peters, do you have any kind of rough pie graph as to
where the Haqqani network gets its money? That is to say, they
have got donations. They have got money coming in from the ISI
and other elements of the Pakistani Government. They have got
drugs. They have got a protection racket. Then they have got
kidnappings for hire, and then they have things approaching
legitimate businesses, where they are competing against those.
Any idea what are the big elements there?
Ms. Peters. My feeling is that the big sources of income
are extortion, the construction and real estate operations that
they run, and kidnapping. But that is my feeling. It is very,
very hard to----
Mr. Sherman. So it is not so much drugs or aid from the
Ms. Peters. I think the Taliban in the southwest earn a lot
more money from narcotics than the Haqqanis do, although what
is interesting about the Haqqani network is they appear to have
gotten more involved in the business of importing precursor
chemicals, specifically acetic anhydride, which I thought was
very interesting and innovative of them because there is now
such a glut of opium in parts of the south that per kilo the
value of acetic anhydride is actually higher. So they actually
earn more money----
Mr. Sherman. What is that chemical used for?
Ms. Peters. Acetic anhydride is the critical ingredient
along with lime and hydrochloric acid and a few other
ingredients to process raw opium into--lime and hydrochloric
acid to take it up to a morphine base, more or less. I am
simplifying a little bit. Acetic anhydride is critical----
Mr. Sherman. So they got into the drug dealer's supplier?
Ms. Peters. That is correct. Acetic anhydride is the
critical element that turns it into crystal heroin, the most
addictive and most valuable----
Mr. Sherman. So what we are finding is being done in
Pakistan and Afghanistan, not----
Ms. Peters. The refineries are mostly in southern and
southwest Afghanistan. Some of them are in eastern Afghanistan
in the border areas. And we hear sporadic reports of refineries
opening in the tribal areas. And some are up on the border
between Iran and Turkey.
Mr. Sherman. I got you. Now one thing that I think we were
inadequately sensitive to throughout our involvement in
Afghanistan is how it is absolutely unacceptable to Pakistan--
and naturally so--that Afghanistan would become a strategic
enemy or a base for the Indian military. To what extent is
Pakistan justifiably afraid that Karzai could be a strategic
ally of India and a strategic enemy of Pakistan? And to what
extent is there justifiable fear looking at the entire Kabul
government as a whole?
Does anybody have a comment? Mr. Dressler.
Mr. Dressler. Congressman, I think it is overstated the
extent that there is Indian influence in Afghanistan. I mean
certainly they have diplomatic influence and----
Mr. Sherman. Whatever influence they have will be
multiplied by 10 in the minds of Pakistani generals. So we have
to make sure it is a pretty low number.
Mr. Dressler. Yeah. I mean, I don't expect that they will
be mounting an invasion from Afghanistan into Pakistan. I think
that is very far from reality. So that concern is unfounded.
Certainly there is activity. And President Karzai, one of his
strategies is to leverage all elements of regional competitors
against each other. And that is simply what he is doing when it
Mr. Sherman. So instead of assuring Pakistan that he is not
an ally of India, he threatens Pakistan that maybe he will be?
Mr. Dressler. [Nods yes.]
Ms. Curtis. I don't think we should look at Afghanistan as
a zero sum equation between Pakistan and India. We need to be
looking at Afghanistan as becoming a stable country that will
not serve as a safe haven for terrorists. And if you look at
the kind of assistance that India is providing, there is a lot
of humanitarian assistance. They have helped build the
Parliament building. They are supporting democracy. These are
Mr. Sherman. I think we need to see this through the eyes
of those concerned with Pakistani national security.
Ms. Curtis. Okay. We can do that. But I don't think we have
seen any evidence of efforts by India to directly undermine
Pakistani national security. This is something that the
Pakistanis fear. But I don't think that we should let U.S.
policy be driven by Pakistani fear. I think we should point out
that if Pakistan is worried about Afghanistan getting too close
to India, then it needs to take steps to build its own
relationship with Afghanistan because what Pakistan is doing,
by supporting militants, it is not currying favor with the
Afghan people. So if it wants to have a better relationship
with Afghanistan, it needs to engage in normal state activities
that allow that.
Mr. Sherman. I think you are assuming that the average
Afghani is on our side and not the Haqqani side. And I would
very much like to believe that, and I am sure it is true of a
large number of Afghans. But to say that they are not currying
favor with the Afghan people ignores just how powerful the
support network of the wrong side is in Afghanistan. Of course
the Afghans we meet in our daily lives are all more reasonable
than what you see on the ground.
I think my time has expired.
Mr. Royce. Thank you. Mr. Connolly from Virginia.
Mr. Connolly. Mr. Chairman, I thank you. But let me just,
if it is all right with the chair, I would be happy to yield to
our colleague, Ms. Jackson Lee, if she has some questions at
Mr. Royce. Ms. Jackson Lee, go ahead.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Connolly, thank you so very much for
your courtesies. And let me thank the ranking member and the
chairman for their courtesies as well. I think this is an
important hearing. I apologize for being delayed somewhat in
another hearing that we are addressing.
Many of us are familiar with the Haqqani network, and
certainly through the passage of legislation out of this
committee, the criteria was set in place for the State
Department to ultimately make a determination. But I want to
pose several questions regarding the extension between the
Pakistani people, the military brass, and the Haqqani network
which I think is tied mostly to the intelligence agency.
So my first question would be, do you not see any divide or
any light between the network and some of the military brass in
the Pakistani military service? Second, are you suggesting that
the Haqqani network is representative of the people of Pakistan
and that there are not some viable routes of collaboration with
the United States and opportunities for mutual cooperation? And
third, are you aware that in spite of the obstacles that the
present Pakistani Government has to overcome--and that is
living in a very dangerous neighborhood and a very challenging
climate--are you aware of the recent engagement that Pakistan
has had with India opening up new trade routes, opening up
cooperation, India becoming one of the major trading partners
for Pakistan and actually evidencing some real desire for that
country to tend to the business of normalization so that--is
there not some divide or light between the Haqqani network and
Pakistan? What happens is that they are interpreted as the
same. When you take a broad brush, I think it is unfair. As
Americans, we never are reminded of the fact that Pakistan
stood alongside of us in the 20-year war, as I understand,
against Russia's presence in Afghanistan. So I would like to
save Pakistan. And I don't argue with the designation. But I do
think we should be clear that there is some distinctions.
So those who are on the panel can respond to the questions.
Thank you for your testimony.
Ms. Peters. Ma'am, I thank you for your comments. I have
spent a lot of my adult life living in Pakistan among the
Pakistani people. And I have a great deal of affection for that
country and for the communities there, particularly in the
border areas. There is a huge divide between the communities
and these very violent and thuggish and criminalized forces
that are wreaking havoc on the people. I met with a group of
businessmen in fact from North Waziristan last year in Dubai
who were asking me about the reconciliation strategy and said,
why are you speaking to the Haqqanis? Why is your government
trying to talk to them? Why don't you come and speak to us? We
are the doctors and the lawyers and the educated people from
the border areas. We would like to reconcile with you and be
partners with you. And that is a strong feeling I have from
across Pakistan, that the people are by and large moderate,
that they want to be friends with us and other countries around
the world. I would even go so far as to say that that is true
of a lot of people within Pakistan's bureaucracy and even their
military and intelligence services. Like our military and
intelligence services and bureaucracies, there are a lot of
different groups and they don't always get along.
Increasingly, public polling has showed that public support
for militancy has plummeted in recent years because of the
widespread terrorist violence, the kidnapping that is going on,
the criminal activities that these organizations engage in. I
am not saying that the United States has become wildly popular.
However, there is certainly no love lost for the militants in
that part of the world. I also think that public polling and
surveys show that people on both sides of the Line of Control--
people in India and Pakistan--would like to see more economic
cooperation, like the trade agreement that you speak of. They
would like to see their region become sort of like a South
Asian ASEAN, if I could put it that way.
This is one of the most populous regions in the world with
a lot of cultural affinity because it used to be, of course,
one country. And I think that there is a way forward. And I
personally hope that we can go down that road in the next
Ms. Jackson Lee. Anyone else? Thank you very much.
And would you include in your answer whether or not our
actions should be punitive against the people in the government
in light of your comments, Ms. Peters?
Ms. Peters. My feeling is----
Ms. Jackson Lee. No. Let me get a response from Mr.
Dressler and Ms. Curtis. If we have time, Ms. Peters, I would
love to hear you because you have lived among them.
Mr. Dressler. I think it is a fair point. It absolutely
should not be punitive against the Pakistani people. I think
the problem is that there are a select few who are not allowing
the Pakistani people to rise up against these groups to voice
their opinions and to basically say, look, we don't agree with
this policy of having a terrorist safe haven in North
Waziristan for a variety of groups.
And your point about the Pakistan-India relationship
potentially getting better is a great one but it is one that is
directly undermined by elements of the security services'
support for groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and others.
So I would just echo Ms. Peters' comments about the
Pakistani populace. It is really not about punishing them. It
is about encouraging or compelling elements of the security
services to cease their support and facilitation for these
Ms. Jackson Lee. Ms. Curtis.
Ms. Curtis. Yes. I agree wholeheartedly with what Mr.
Dressler just said. And I would just add that I bet if you talk
to most Pakistanis, they would actually support this
designation of the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization
because they realize the threat that this network poses to
And here I would like to quote Asma Jahangir. She is a well
known human rights defender in Pakistan. And just about a month
ago, she exhorted her fellow countrymen in an article to
fully--and I am quoting here--``fully comprehend, admit and
face up to the challenges thrown at the country by militant
non-state networks,'' noting that the country's leaders were
conceding territorial and political ground to jihadis of all
types and nationalities. So clearly there are many Pakistani
people who do not support these militant networks, who would
like to see their country more stable in confronting these
So I think you are absolutely right. We should not be
penalizing the Pakistani people. We should be engaging, trying
to build a relationship but at the same time trying to make
sure that those linkages between some elements of the Pakistani
state and militant nonstate networks are broken.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Chairman, may I just conclude, I
didn't know whether you would indulge Ms. Peters. I don't know
if she has something different to say from these two. I cut you
off, and I didn't know if you had something different to say.
Ms. Peters. No. I agree broadly with what they have said.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Chairman, if I might just conclude.
And thank you for your courtesies.
I co-chair the Pakistan Caucus. And the only thing I would
like to say to this committee, I agree with the designation of
the Haqqani network and do believe there are elements in the
ISI and others. But it would be wrong for us to disengage with
Pakistan. People are more than desirous of a legitimate
democratic country but, more importantly, a relationship I
believe with the United States. We have got to find a way to be
collaborative on this war on terror.
I thank the chairman very much and I yield back.
Mr. Royce. Thank you.
Ms. Jackson Lee. And I thank the gentleman from Virginia.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Congresswoman Jackson Lee. We now to
Congressman Connolly from Virginia.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And again thank you
to our panelists for being here.
A real quick question, Ms. Peters, and a follow-up to your
answer to Mr. Sherman on the heroin question. That is obviously
a major source of the financing for the Haqqani network--by the
way, ironically, some of it--a lot of it coming from Iran which
has, I guess, the largest number of heroin addicts in the
Ms. Peters. Opium addicts.
Mr. Connolly. Opium. Excuse me. And the United States and
Iran actually might have something in common there, the desire
to fight the traffic.
Ms. Peters. Yes. That is correct.
Mr. Connolly. What other sources of financing does the
Haqqani network have externally?
Ms. Peters. External sources?
Mr. Connolly. Externally.
Ms. Peters. Well, they partner with a number of import-
export operations that extend as far away as South Africa and
that are sort of located throughout the Gulf. They have
fundraising operations throughout the Gulf states and the
Mr. Connolly. Are they receiving direct funding from
states? For example----
Ms. Peters. I believe they continue to receive direct
funding and certain types of logistical support from parts of
the ISI. I also believe that the Haqqanis are helping to----
Mr. Connolly. What about Iran?
Ms. Peters. Well, I was just going to say, I believe that--
it is known that there is a growing operation to bring Iranian
dinars and other regional currency, Saudi rials, Emerati dinars
into southeastern Afghanistan to flip them on the hawala
markets, flip them in the money exchange markets into U.S.
dollars because there is a wealth of dollars. And I have
received multiple reports during the course of my research that
Haqqani operatives act as gunmen protecting those convoys with
cash that are coming through.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I think as a follow-
up to this hearing, one of the things we are going to have to
be in touch with the State Department about is, now that it has
been accorded an FTO, we need to be looking at sources of
financing, especially if they involve other sovereign states
directly or indirectly.
Mr. Dressler--and maybe Ms. Curtis--what should we
understand about the relationship between the ISI and the
Haqqani network? And to what extent should we hold the
Pakistani Government qua-government responsible for that
relationship of protection?
Mr. Dressler. Sir that is an excellent question. I think
just to piggyback on Ms. Peters' answer about the financing,
you are coming up into the Hajj year toward the end of October
and you can bet that there will be Haqqani network
representatives there fundraising and collecting money. So this
is really a time-sensitive issue as well.
Mr. Connolly. When you say ``there,'' you mean Mecca,
Mr. Dressler. Correct. In terms of holding the Pakistani
Government responsible, you really have to look at the
relationship between the Pakistani Government, the PPP
government and the military and who controls what and who has
influence over whom. When you peel back that relationship, I
think it becomes pretty clear that the PPP government is
probably fairly limited in terms of what they can do against
the Haqqani network. When it comes to the relationship between
elements of the ISI and the Haqqani network, it really runs the
gamut. I think there is current and retired is typically the
way that you hear it phrased in the media. And in a classified
hearing, you could probably get you know perhaps a little bit
better fidelity on that relationship. But sufficient to say
that there is an element of support there that has endured over
the past 30 years, as Gretchen mentioned in her testimony. This
is a longstanding relationship. And as long as the Haqqanis are
roughly pursuing the same objectives in Afghanistan as the
Pakistani security services then that relationship will
continue unless somebody forces it to be broken.
Mr. Connolly. Ms. Curtis.
Ms. Curtis. So as Ms. Peters pointed out, the ISI doesn't
have complete control over the network but at the same time the
network could simply not survive if the Pakistanis were to
crack down. And if there is any organization in the world that
can influence the Haqqani network, it is the Pakistan
intelligence service. So I think that even if they don't have
Mr. Connolly. You will forgive me, Ms. Curtis. But I think
that is being overly generous. The fact of the matter is, the
Haqqani network operates with impunity in certain parts of
Pakistan with the absolute knowledge of the ISI, in fact
arguably with their protection. They are not under house
Ms. Curtis. That is right.
Mr. Connolly. So it is an open secret what is going on. And
the real proposition--I guess the question I am asking--and I
understand that it is difficult--but presumably, there is one
government. And if we want to accept the proposition that while
in the case of Pakistan, it is a multiheaded hydra and what can
we do, then we are going to have to accept the proposition,
which I find unacceptable, that the Haqqani network is going to
continue to operate with impunity in Pakistan and across the
border with the protection of an arm of the Pakistani
Government. It seems to me we have to wrestle that issue to the
ground if this relationship with the Government of Pakistan is
to proceed in any kind of healthy normal fashion. It is an
unacceptable proposition to our Government and ought to be. And
I think we have just made it even less acceptable with this
long desired designation.
And that is really what I am asking you to respond to. You
can certainly disagree with my proposition if you wish. But
from my point of view, there are some serious truths here that
have to be dealt with.
Does anyone on our panel take issue with my
characterization that the Haqqani network operates with
impunity inside Pakistan and across the border and with the
protection of the ISI?
Ms. Curtis. No, sir. I agree with you.
Mr. Dressler. I don't take issue with that either, sir.
Ms. Peters. I don't take issue with that either. I think
the relationship is not always smooth but----
Mr. Connolly. I have been married 36 years. My relationship
isn't always smooth.
Ms. Peters. Exactly. It is like a marriage.
Mr. Connolly. I appreciate the point. But yeah. But one
final question, if I may, Mr. Chairman. What is your
understanding--given the fact that we are drawing down from
Afghanistan and the fact that we had the attack in Kabul,
active participation by Haqqani, what does it mean once we are
gone in Afghanistan in terms of the broad playing field for
Haqqani and what we might expect from them in the Afghan
Mr. Dressler. Just briefly, sir, I think the concern is
that the Haqqani network, the threat from the network inside of
Afghanistan is not sufficiently addressed either by us or that
the Afghan security forces are not capable of addressing the
threat and that it grows and it spreads as it currently is and
that at that point these relationships that persist in North
Waziristan will eventually make its way even in greater
strength than it currently is in Afghanistan so you will have
safe havens in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda. So basically
replicating what you see in North Waziristan throughout areas
So it is a fair point, and I think a counterterrorism
footprint after 2014 certainly is a start. But whether or not
it is going to be sufficient is a difficult question. There is
ISR, a lot of other things that need to be there. And it is
very difficult to retake a district center with a fighter plane
or something like that. So I mean it is a concern for sure.
Mr. Connolly. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Mr. Connolly. We want to thank our
witnesses for coming down and giving their testimony today. We
are going to be following up with you on some of the
suggestions that you made today at this hearing.
Our hearing stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4 o'clock p.m., the subcommittee was
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing RecordNotice deg.