Thursday, January 17, 2008

Charlie Wilson's New War

The mastermind of Monday’s deadly attack on the five-star Kabul Serena Hotel by a suicide squad was identified by Afhan authorities to be the Pakistan-based Taliban commander, Sirajuddin Haqqani. Siraj, the leader of the Haqqani network, is thought to be in North Waziristan and has a $200,000 bounty on his head from the U.S. military. Siraj is the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who, if still alive, is thought to be in North Waziristan as well.
Jalaluddin Haqqani

Jalaluddin Haqqani may be familiar to those who know of Charlie Wilson’s War, the book by George Crile or the movie starring Tom Hanks, the story of a maverick Texas congressman who secretly funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the Afghan mujahideen and help defeat the Soviet Union. Haqqani gave Wilson a tour of Khost not long after the Soviets abandoned the city in 1991. Charlie Wilson described Haqqani as “goodness personified” (p. 521). Now that Haqqani is allied with al-Qaeda, and is ranked as America’s third most wanted jihadist after Osama bin Laden and Mullah Muhammad Omar, Wilson admits to second thoughts about his old friend:

“That did give me pause for thought,” Wilson admits. “But Haqqani took care of me, and I’ll never forget that. I’d love to see him again. I would try to persuade him that the Taleban was a force for destruction – which he definitely wasn’t” (Times Online).

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|| headland, 7:04 PM


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