When a fake sewage tanker truck carrying 3,000 pounds of explosives managed to reach a high-security district of Kabul on May 31, then detonated in an explosion that left 150 people dead and 400 wounded, no insurgent or terrorist group asserted responsibility. But immediately, the rumors began to spread.

The Haqqanis. It had to be the Haqqani network, people said. No one else could have pulled off such a precise and spectacular crime. The Afghan intelligence police soon publicly accused the group, too, adding that it had gotten help from Pakistan’s spy agency. Seven weeks later, the bombing remains unclaimed, and the Afghan capital is still reeling from it.

By rights, the Haqqanis should be barely standing. For years, this clan-based Taliban offshoot has been a high-priority target for Afghan forces and their U.S.-led allies. The group’s charismatic founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is believed to have died of illness, and most of his sons and senior commanders have been killed or imprisoned. Pakistan, which once allowed the Haqqanis to rule their own ministate in the border badlands, now claims to have driven them out.


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Featured image courtesy of AP