Washington: Leaders of Pakistan-based
Haqqani Network as well as those of the Afghan Taliban should
be declared as "terrorist-affiliated individuals" for their
support to insurgency in Afghanistan, a top American General
"Both these groups have engaged in terrorism, and I
believe the leaders of both groups should be placed on the
State Department list," General James Mattis told lawmakers
during his Senate confirmation hearing for Commander of the US
Mattis was responding to a question from Senator Carl
Levin if the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban through
its Quetta Shura or council have been engaged in terrorist
activities that threaten US security interests and if he
believes that these groups should be designated as foreign
"Relative to the Haqqani Network, which is based in
North Waziristan, neither they nor the Afghan Taliban`s Quetta
Shura, which is based in Quetta in Pakistan, are on the State
Department`s list of foreign terrorist organisations," Levin
"These groups and their senior leaders are involved
deeply in supporting the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan.
There`s little question that they engage in terrorist
activities to the detriment of the United States national
security interests and to the coalition (forces)," the Senator
"Designating those groups as foreign terrorist
organisations or, at a minimum, designating their senior
leaders as terrorist-affiliated individuals would make certain
tools available for limiting the financial and logistical
support that they receive and, also, perhaps even more
importantly, would send a very important signal regarding the
United States` serious concern with their ongoing activities,
including a signal to Pakistan," Levin said.
The State Department has said that it has begun the
process of designating the Haqqani Network and the Pakistani
Taliban as foreign terrorist organisations.
At another Congressional hearing convened by the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, David Kilcullen, a non-resident
fellow at the prestigious Centre for New American Security,
said the Haqqani Network is acting on behalf of some elements
in the Pakistani national security establishment.
"I think we should probably just say that they`re not
necessarily acting on their own behalf and that we`ve seen
considerable collusion between them and I wouldn`t say the
Pakistani state but elements within some parts of the national
security establishment in Pakistan," Kilcullen said.
The US should not be negotiating with the Haqqani
Network, although perhaps for a slightly different reason, he
said. "I don`t disagree that the human rights record of the
Haqqani Network is terrible, but I also think that they`re not
acting on their own initiative."
"If you negotiate with the organ grinder`s monkey, you
may as well negotiate with the organ grinder himself. In the
case of the Haqqani Network, I think there`s someone who
stands behind those people that needs to be involved in any
negotiation," Kilcullen said.