US labels Pakistan-based Haqqani group as terrorists
New York: The US on Friday designated Pakistan- based dreaded Haqqani network as a terrorist group, a move that could degrade the organisation`s ability to execute violent attacks and pressurise Islamabad to act militarily against the outfit.
The move could further damage the already frail bilateral ties between the US and Pakistan.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton formally designated the militant network as terrorist organisation in a report to the Congress today.
Announcing the decision, Clinton said, "I have sent a report to Congress saying that the Haqqani Network meets the statutory criteria of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO)."
"Based on that assessment, I notified Congress of my intent to designate the Haqqani Network as an FTO under the INA. I also intend to designate the organisation as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity."
She and other administration officials "had already discussed the issue with their counterparts in Pakistan, and the administration`s special envoy, Marc Grossman, is expected to formally inform Pakistan`s leaders on Friday," the New York Times said in a report.
State Department officials would also begin notifying senior lawmakers.
Clinton said the consequences of these designations include a prohibition against knowingly providing material support or resources to, or engaging in other transactions with, the Haqqani Network, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organisation that are in the US.
"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," Clinton said.
She said the US would continue to work with both Afghanistan and Pakistan to move these efforts forward and build a more peaceful and secure future.
The move was welcomed by US lawmakers.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she strongly support Clinton`s designation of the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization.
"This action will make it harder for the Haqqani Network to raise funds and operate its businesses, and will create new risks for anyone working with it. Over the past two years I have heard from leaders in the intelligence community and military in Washington and in Kabul that designation is the right thing to do," Feinstein said.
"This is a terrorist organisation and an enemy of the United States, and I urge Pakistan to redouble its efforts working with US and Afghan partners to eliminate the Haqqani threat," said the Senator, who in July 2012 introduced legislation instructing the Secretary of State to designate the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization and in May 2012 wrote Secretary Clinton a letter urging for the designation.
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