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The Haqqani Network and the Threat to Afghanistan

Why the Terrorist Syndicate is the Biggest Threat to South Asia

In the debate over how to plan for the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, a new argument has surfaced about who, exactly, American forces should be fighting. Last week on this site, the RAND scholar Seth Jones made a case that NATO's focus on the Haqqani network -- the criminal terrorist syndicate based in western Pakistan -- diverts attention from what he contends is a far more menacing and long-term threat, the Quetta Shura, as the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is known.

But Jones' analysis does not reflect the evolving nature of the insurgency. During a recent week-long tour of southern and eastern Afghanistan I took at the invitation of General John Allen, the senior American and NATO commander there, I saw first-hand how the enemy has changed in recent years. Since the summer of 2009, NATO's battle against the Quetta Shura in the south of Afghanistan has reduced the

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