US designates Haqqani network as terrorists
08 September, 2012
VLADIVOSTOK: The United States is designating the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, accused of high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, as a terrorist organisation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday, in a move that would trigger sanctions against the group and turn up the heat on Pakistan's government.
Clinton said in a statement that she had told the US Congress that she would brand the Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist organisation, subjecting the group and its members to additional sanctions, including an asset freeze.
"We also continue our robust campaign of diplomatic, military and intelligence pressure on the network, demonstrating the United States' resolve to degrade the organisation's ability to execute violent attacks," said Clinton, who was in Vladivostok, Russia for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
The Haqqanis have been blamed for an attack on the US embassy in Kabul and other high-profile assaults in Afghanistan.
But whether to brand the group as a terrorist organisation has been the subject of intense debate within the Obama administration, with some officials arguing it will have little real impact but risk setting back Afghan reconciliation efforts.
Clinton signed the report to Congress on Friday in Brunei stating that the network met the criteria to be designated as a foreign terrorist organisation, the State Department said. A US official said the formal designation would be made in the coming days.
Blacklisting Haqqanis 'not good': Pakistani official
Any decision by the United States to blacklist the Haqqani network as terrorists will negatively impact future relations with Pakistan, a senior Pakistani security official said on Friday.
"Frankly speaking, any decision by the US to declare the Haqqani network a terror group will not be a good sign for future Pakistan-US relations," the official said, speaking under anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media.
"The saner elements within the US administration do understand the complications that may arise in bilateral ties after they declare the Haqqani network a terror group," he said.
"Any such decision will take the relationship back to square one, ruining the improvement seen in ties between the two countries during the last couple of months," he said.