US Says Haqqanis Behind Afghan Attacks

Luis Ramirez

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says members of the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani insurgent group were behind the spectacular string of coordinated attacks in Afghanistan early Sunday, and they came as no surprise.

The coalition says the attacks mark the start of the spring fighting season in Afghanistan.

Haqqani Network

  • FOUNDER: Jalaluddin Haqqani, a former anti-Soviet resistance commander.
  • BASE: North Waziristan, Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan.
  • TOP COMMANDERS: Siraj Haqqani, son of founder Jalaluddin Haqqani. Haji Mali Khan, uncle of Siraj Haqqani.
  • LINKS: U.S. officials have linked the network to Al-Qaida, Pakistani Taliban, and the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency.
  • THREAT: U.S. considers it one of the biggest threats to the U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan. It is blamed for many high-profile attacks, including last year's attack on a NATO base that wounded 77 U.S. soldiers, and the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Militants pounded Kabul and other parts of eastern Afghanistan in coordinated attacks for nearly 18 hours. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

But U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that is not so.

“The intelligence indicates that the Haqqanis were behind the attacks that took place," said Panetta.

Panetta told reporters U.S. intelligence knew the attacks were coming, and the militants achieved nothing.

“There were no tactical gains here," he said. "These are isolated attacks that are done for symbolic purposes and they have not regained any territory.”

U.S. officials are portraying the attack as a sign that the Afghan security forces they are training are now more capable of standing up to the militants on their own.  Afghan soldiers and police led the fight against the insurgents.

General Martin Dempsey is the top officer in the U.S. military:

“The French provided a couple of helicopters," said Dempsey. "We provided a couple of helicopters, but this was very much an Afghan show.”

But while Afghan forces won American praise for how well they fought, their president blamed the assault on NATO intelligence failures.

The attacks also raise broader questions of what lies ahead when U.S. forces leave in 2014.  

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Sadat
April 17, 2012 8:57 AM
people should not say, Haqani or Taliban carry out attack, instead they should say ISI does.
ISI is worse than any terrorest group in the world

by: Rahim
April 17, 2012 8:44 AM
The funy think is. after every attack made by ISI in Afghanistan, they make false attack or some type of problem in Pakistan as well to show to the worl they are not behind any attack in Afghanistan because even they are not able to stop attacks in Pakistan.

by: Michael
April 17, 2012 5:38 AM
USA on it's last leg of super powerism? Of course, countires like Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iran are on the rise in your view? Brilliant comment.

We will leave Afghanistan and the country will be returned to the goats who live there. Should those goats be foolish enough to attack us once more, we will once again pay your one of your rag tag armies with a personal vendatta to hunt down their own countrymen. I will sleep well knowing this is your version of victory.

by: Ozair
April 16, 2012 6:23 PM
Not sure why US does not take action against this terrorist organisation and its main supporter ISI. Don't wait until it is to late, they might strike you again in New York or Washington DC.

by: Bassey
April 16, 2012 12:38 PM
Please l urge all the leaders of Africa's to come together inorder to empower the Youth & to develope the economic of our countinent's.

by: Stephen Real
April 16, 2012 12:07 PM
Another Haqqani Network job right out of Pakistan. The haqqani's are bought and paid for by opium and the Pakistani ISI. How many times does this same scenario has to play out over and over again? Pakistan tribal areas have to be penetrated and operatives terminated plain and simple. Any two-bit hillbilly from Timbuktu could have called this one.

by: khan
April 16, 2012 10:40 AM
usa on its last leg of superpowerisom is the cause of the troubles in the world its power is ebbing away and with all its power plus 60 countries cannot defeat the courage of the brave talibans and its secret behind deals trying to save its arse who are the cowards?

by: Haron 2 of 2
April 16, 2012 10:24 AM
if conditions continue like this. from one side when ISAF, NATO & combat troops leave Afg. from another side when there won't be a real president for this TORN-heart country the result will complete to beneficiary of Pakis & Iran. & a big anguish for those people whom fought 23 year with problems. when Russia says NATO must stay in Afg what is the need when Karzai doesn't sign partnership strategic early? i think he wait to russia come & support his brother as a future president.

by: Haron 1 of 2
April 16, 2012 10:08 AM
i think it's the result of an obstacle declared against night raids operations second all people can claim in these 17 hours battle in Kabul there was nationalism observe there was no armies which was Pashtoon. i think Karzai wants to bring his brothers (Taliban) & get support from Pakistan ISI & Iran spies. CON'T

by: Vijay Dandapani
April 16, 2012 9:57 AM
"US. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the attacks "cowardly" in a call Sunday to the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker."

That must have the Haqqani network going into paroxysms of shame.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs