The Taliban’s government has directed the Ministry of Interior to begin issuing passports. The Ministry of Interior is run by Sirajuddin Haqqani, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist who has been identified by the United Nations as an Al Qaeda leader.
With control of the Ministry of Interior, Sirajuddin now has the power to issue passports to Al Qaeda operatives and their allies, all in the name of the government of Afghanistan.
“The Ministry of Interior was … instructed to resume the process of issuing passports and identity cards,” according to a statement released by the Council of Ministers on Oct. 4. That statement was published by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
Ahmadullah Muttaqi, the “Chief Of Multimedia Branch The Cultural Commission Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan,” the name of the Taliban’s government, confirmed that the Ministry of Interior started issuing passports today. “Passport distribution resumed today and 5,000 passports are ready,” Muttaqi tweeted on Oct. 5.
As the Interior Minister, Sirajuddin controls the most powerful ministry in the Taliban’s newly resurrected Islamic Emirate. He controls internal security forces, directs intelligence and counterintelligence activities, and appoints provincial governors.
The Haqqanis leverage their power through relationships and close ties with Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment. Sirajuddin is arguably the Taliban’s most powerful and influential leader. He inherited the leadership of the Haqqani Network in the late 2000s from his father, Jalaluddin, one of the Taliban’s most famed leaders. Jalaluddin was instrumental in supporting Al Qaeda, bringing Osama bin Laden back to Afghanistan in 1996, sponsoring Al Qaeda training camps, and defending Osama bin Laden during the U.S. invasion in 2001.
Sirajuddin also led the Miramshah Shura, one of the Taliban’s regional political and military commands, which is based in Pakistan. In 2016, Sirajuddin was named as one of Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada’s two deputy emirs.
Sirajuddin has worked closely with Al Qaeda throughout his career. The U.S. government listed Sirajuddin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, in part because of his deep ties with Al Qaeda, offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to his capture and prosecution. The United Nations Security Council recently reported that Sirajuddin is a member of al Qaeda’s “wider” leadership. The Haqqanis main media arm has even the unbroken bond between the Taliban and al Qaeda. And al Qaeda’s general command has referred to Sirajuddin and Akhundzada as “our emirs in the Islamic emirate.”
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