Fountainhead of Jihad: The Haqqani Nexus, 1973-2012

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Drawing on a wealth of previously unstudied primary sources in several languages, Vahid Brown and Don Rassler map the anatomy of a group frequently described as the most lethal actor in the Afghan insurgency. The Haqqani network has for decades operated at the centre of a transnational nexus of Islamist militancy, lending support to the development of jihadi organizations from Southeast Asia to East Africa. Pouring over abundant new evidence documenting the Haqqani network's pivotal role in the birth and evolution of the global jihadi movement, this volume also significantly advances our knowledge of the history of al-Qaeda by fundamentally altering the portrait painted by existing literature on the subject.

Reviews and endorsements:

The Haqqani tribal network is based in North Waziristan, a region that straddles the border highlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan … 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] have assembled unique and impressive evidence for their arguments, shining a light into some hitherto dark corners. — John Waterbury, Foreign Affairs

Fountainhead of Jihad is a groundbreaking research work by two recognized specialists of the region who have accessed extremely valuable primary sources never studied before. It deconstructs the commonly held view that the Haqqani network is a local actor preoccupied with local concerns and shows very convincingly how Al Qaeda and the Haqqani network evolved together and have remained intertwined throughout their history. It also shows how the Haqqanis keep sheltering and supporting groups engaged in global jihad. — Mariam Abou Zabab, coauthor of Islamist Networks: The Afghan-Pakistan Connection

“Considered by many to be the most lethal insurgent force in Afghanistan, the Haqqani network is the bête noire of the United States and a favored proxy of America’s erstwhile ally Pakistan. … Brown and Rassler paint the most complete portrait of the network to date. … While acknowledging [it] is primarily a local actor with local concerns in Afghanistan and teasing out its complex relationship with Pakistan, Fountainhead of Jihad devotes significant attention to the strategic effect of the group’s support for al-Qaeda’s global jihad. … The conventional wisdom is that the Haqqanis simply host al-Qaeda, but the authors paint a much more intimate picture to illustrate that the group has served, and continues to serve, as a platform from which al-Qaeda wages its global jihad. … This book should be required reading for anyone working on security issues in South Asia or the evolution of the jihadist movement globally.” — Stephen Tankel, Foreign Policy

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