What the New York Times Never Told Readers About Sirajuddin Haqqani

Sen. Tom Cotton argued in an op-ed for the New York Times on Wednesday that the Trump administration should deploy the U.S. military to American cities to quell a series of riots. The newspaper’s decision to publish Cotton’s opinion immediately sparked controversy, as some of the newspaper’s employees and many on social media objected. Putting aside that rancor, it is worth revisiting an op-ed published in February that did not receive nearly as much condemnation. That piece was attributed to Sirajuddin Haqqani, a notorious terror kingpin in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan who has been allied with al-Qaeda for many years.

Today, Haqqani is the deputy emir of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, a totalitarian regime the jihadists have been fighting to resurrect ever since it was toppled by the U.S. and its allies in late 2001.

I note that the piece was attributed to Haqqani, because there are good reasons to suspect he didn’t actually write it. The language employed (including phrases such as “recurring disquiet”) demonstrates a suspiciously refined knowledge of English that Haqqani, a non-native speaker, hasn’t displayed elsewhere throughout his lengthy career.

Even if Haqqani did write the piece, there is much the New York Times should have told readers about him when publishing it. I previously published a summary of Sirajuddin Haqqani’s longstanding, close-knit relationship with al-Qaeda for The Dispatch

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