Abdul Rauf Zakir, also known as Qari Zakir, is the chief of suicide operations for the Haqqani Network and the operational commander in Kabul, Takhar, Kunduz, and Baghlan Provinces, Afghanistan. Zakir is responsible for the Haqqani Network’s training program, which includes instruction in small arms, heavy weapons, and basic improvised explosive device (IED) construction.
Zakir approached Haqqani Network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani in 2008, requesting financial assistance in exchange for expanding the group’s influence and operations into northern Afghanistan, and has become a trusted associate and confidant of Sirajuddin. He has been involved in many of the Haqqani Network’s high-profile suicide attacks and is partially responsible for making some of the final determinations on whether or not to proceed with large-scale attacks planned by local district-level commanders. Attacks using personnel selected from Zakir’s training program include the 2010 attacks on coalition force bases Salerno and Chapman; the June 2011 attack on the Intercontinental Hotel, which killed 11 civilians and two Afghan policemen; and the September 2011 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which killed 16 Afghans, including at least six children.
The U.S. Department of State designated Abdul Rauf Zakir a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 on November 5, 2012.
The Haqqani Network is a militant group founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, an Afghanistan-battlefield commander from the 1980s who fought against the Soviet Union. The Haqqani Network is allied with the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida and seeks to reestablish Taliban rule in Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network is primarily based in North Waziristan, Pakistan, and conducts cross-border operations into eastern Afghanistan and Kabul. The Haqqanis are considered the most lethal insurgent group targeting Coalition and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
The Haqqani Network has planned and carried out a number of significant kidnappings and attacks against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan government and civilian targets. Some of the group’s most notorious attacks include an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in June 2011, which killed 11 civilians and two Afghan policemen; a September 2011 truck bombing in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, which wounded 77 U.S. soldiers; a 19-hour attack on the U.S. Embassy and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul in September 2011; a June 2012 suicide bomb attack against Forward Operating Base Salerno, which killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded more than 100; and a 12-hour siege of the Spozhmai Hotel in Kabul in June 2012, which resulted in the death of at least 18 Afghans, including 14 civilians.
The U.S. Department of State designated the Haqqani Network a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 19, 2012.