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It is not every day that one has an opportunity to win a $10 million reward. But today is not every day. As most should now know, the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan for the first time since the United States-led invasion two decades ago. The Taliban declared the return of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” While many (but not all) countries choose their leaders through elections, it appears that the leaders of the revived Islamic Emirate will stick to tradition – selecting their government through internal deliberations. Among the officials in the interim Taliban Government is Mr. Sirajuddin Haqqani, acting Minister of the Interior.

Mr. Sirajuddin Haqqani…

Photograph of Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Photograph of Sirajuddin Haqqani.

That name sounds familiar…

Who is Sirajuddin Haqqani?

Eureka! Now I remember. Mr. Haqqani has a place of honor on the FBI’s “Seeking Information – Terrorism” list. I will link to an an archived version of the page on the off-chance that it does not remain live for too much longer.

Thumbnail version of FBI poster seeking information leading to the capture of Sirajuddin Haqqani - promising reward of up to $10 million.
FBI wanted poster for Sirajuddin Haqqani.

Mr. Haqqani is a man of many hats. Not only is he the acting Interior Minister of the renewed Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, he is also head of the brutal Haqqani Network and Deputy to the Supreme Leader of the Taliban, Mr. Hibatullah Akhundzada. He is so versatile that he even moonlighted as a New York Times op-ed writer in February 2020 while maintaining a prominent position on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists list.

Given Mr. Haqqani’s many decades as a Jihadist militant, he has engaged in many acts of questionable morality that contributed to his earning a spot on the FBI’s select list. The FBI cites the following reasons for giving him the dubious honor:

Sirajuddin Haqqani is wanted for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed six people, including an American citizen. He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Haqqani also allegedly was involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008.

There were rumors that Mr. Karzai himself would be a part of the new Afghan government. But I digress.

$10 Million Award for Information Leading to the Arrest of Sirajuddin Haqqani

Mr. Sirajuddin Haqqani’s long career as a brutal terrorist leader earned him a rather substantial bounty on his head. Per the FBI:

The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading directly to the arrest of Sirajuddin Haqqani.

Where might Mr. Haqqani be? The FBI page for him has a suggestion as of the evening of September 7, 2021:

Haqqani is thought to stay in Pakistan, specifically the Miram Shah, North Waziristan, Pakistan, area. He is reportedly a senior leader of the Haqqani network, and maintains close ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda. Haqqani is a specially designated global terrorist.

My OSINT Sources Suggest FBI Information About Sirajuddin Haqqani’s Whereabouts is Outdated

Based on my survey of reputable open source intelligence resources, I have reason to believe that the information on Mr. Haqqani’s FBI page is not correct. Specifically, I think that it is unlikely that Mr. Haqqani is currently residing in Pakistan. My sources suggest to me that he is very likely in Afghanistan – perhaps directing an entire Ministry in plain sight. Were one to secure an appointment with the acting Interior Minister, I have reason to believe that he or she would be in position to apprehend Mr. Haqqani. As an initial matter, I suggest searching to see whether the Interior Ministory is currently centered in Kandahar or Kabul.

(I take no position on whether attempting to arrest Mr. Haqqani under these circumstances would be a wise course of action for individuals who value their life and limbs.)

NLJ Only Moonlights in OSINT

The New Leaf Journal is not a dedicated OSINT site. Going full OSINT requires a total change in design and philosophy. I would also have to use Twitter more – something that I do not want to do. But even if I only moonlight in OSNIT content, I think that it ought to be quality open source intelligence. Let no one say that I did not debut strongly. Without me, would you have known this credible new information regarding the whereabouts of one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists?

(Aside – if anyone beats me to the reward, I expect a finder’s fee.)

Dedication to Writing Conventions

It was difficult here to remember to maintain my convention of using “Mr.” and “Ms.” for living people in New Leaf Journal articles. Judge my commitment not when it is easy, but rather when it is difficult.

A Serious Note

The absurdity of the current state of affairs aside, the situation in Afghanistan remains perilous for the U.S. citizens who are still stranded in the revived Islamic Emirate as of the writing of this article. I join many in expressing my fervent hope that the U.S. Government belatedly follows through on its promises to secure the safe exit of the remaining U.S. citizens and government employees from Afghanistan in an honorable manner.