In This Review

Fountainhead of Jihad: The Haqqani Nexus, 1973-2012
Fountainhead of Jihad: The Haqqani Nexus, 1973-2012
By Vahid Brown and Don Rassler
Oxford University Press, 2013, 320 pp

The Haqqani tribal network is based in North Waziristan, a region that straddles the border highlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a position that allows the Haqqanis to control vital supply lines. The Haqqani patriarch, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani guide their organization with a combination of fierce resistance to central authorities and a less-than-strict practice of Islam. Above all, they want to preserve control of their homeland, which has served as a safe haven for al Qaeda and as a supply route through which Pakistan’s intelligence service ships materiel to the Taliban and others in Afghanistan. Brown and Rassler argue that the Haqqanis have played a greater role in the region’s anti-American jihad than has al Qaeda -- despite the fact that Washington assisted the Haqqanis’ resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s. They speculate that after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, al Qaeda and the Haqqanis might refocus on India, Kashmir, and the Central Asian states. Brown and Rassler have assembled unique and impressive evidence for their arguments, shining a light into some hitherto dark corners.