Washington: New top US commander in
Afghanistan is pushing hard to get Haqqani network listed as
terrorist organisation, a move that could be a setback to
Pakistan military which is striving to involve the group in
General David H Patraeus took up the issue with
President Barack Obama's top aides on Afghanistan and Pakistan
late last week, New York Times reported quoting US officials
who said "it was being seriously considered".
The American general's warning to curb the Haqqani
faction, which has reportedly upto 2,000 heavily armed
fighters, comes amidst rising calls in US for action against
Voicing concern that Pakistan is not taking enough
action against the Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqani
network, two top US Senators have warned Islamabad that any
future terror attack against America or Europe that can be
traced back to that country would invite "very serious"
Fresh from their visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan,
Democratic Senators Carl Levin and Jack Reed demanded that the
Haqqani network as also the Pakistani Taliban should be
declared as foreign terrorists.
Such a move, New York Times said, could risk
antagonising Pakistan, a critical US partner in the war
efforts in Afghanistan.
It said it could also frustrate Afghan President Hamid
Karzai, who is pressing to reconcile with all the insurgent
groups as a way to end the nine-year-old war and consolidate
his own grip on power.
From its base in the frontier area near the border of
Pakistan and Afghanistan, the network of Sirajuddin Haqqani is
suspected of running much of the insurgency around Kabul and
across eastern Afghanistan, carrying out car bombings and
kidnappings, including spectacular attacks on American
It is allied with al Qaeda and with leaders of the
Afghan Taliban branch under Mullah Muhammad Omar, now based
near Quetta, Pakistan.
But the group's real power may lie in its deep
connections to Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services
Intelligence Directorate, which analysts say sees the Haqqani
network as a way to exercise its own leverage in Afghanistan.
Pakistani military leaders have recently offered to broker
talks between Karzai and the network, officials said, arguing
that it could be a viable future partner, the paper said.
US officials remain extremely sceptical that the
Haqqani network's senior leaders could ever be reconciled with
the Afghan government, although they say perhaps some midlevel
commanders and foot soldiers could.
The idea of putting the Haqqani network on a blacklist
was first made public yesterday by Senator Carl Levin,
Democrat of Michigan, who has just returned from Pakistan and
First Published: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 17:31