Anas Haqqani is not Norway’s most wanted terrorist
Claim: News websites claim Anas Haqqani is Norway’s most wanted terrorist
Fact: Anas Haqqani is not Norway’s most wanted terrorist.
On 25 January 2022, a delegation of the Afghan Taliban visited Oslo, following which several news websites ran stories with the headline, “Norway shocked as its most wanted terrorist Anas Haqqani lands in Oslo.”This headline is false because Anas Haqqani is neither Norway’s most wanted terrorist nor is his name present on any list of criminals in Norway.
Although part of the Haqqani Network — which was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the US government in 2012 — Anas Haqqani was released from prison in 2019 as part of a prisoner swap overseen by the US government. Haqqani and two other Taliban commanders were released in exchange for US citizen Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks. The story was widely reported globally. Haqqani, who had been kept in the Bagram prison, was flown to Qatar after his release but was said to be under “house arrest” according to a report by Tolo News at the time.
Anas Haqqani is the younger brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the current leader of the Haqqani Network and the interior minister of the current Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (or Afghan Taliban) regime. Sirajuddin Haqqani has been specially designated a global terrorist by the US government with a bounty of USD 10 million on his head. A 2009 notification issued under the US State Department’s Rewards for Justice initiative put a USD 5 million bounty on Sirajuddin Haqqani for various attacks, including one carried out on Serena Hotel Kabul in 2008 while the Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre was staying at the hotel. Six people, including Norwegian journalist Carsten Thomassen, died in that attack.
Members of the Haqqani Network are also on the United Nations sanctions list but Anas Haqqani is not named on it. His name also does not appear on the list of Europe’s most wanted fugitives.
The Afghan Taliban delegation was in Oslo on the official invitation of the Norwegian government.
Conclusion: Although Anas Haqqani belongs to a globally sanctioned jihadi outfit and his brother Sirajuddin Haqqani has a USD 10 million bounty on his head, he is not in fact Norway’s most wanted terrorist. The headlines claiming otherwise are false.