US Senate pushes for terrorist label for Haqqani
Washington: Exerting further pressure on the Obama administration to label the Haqqani network a terror outfit, the US Congress has told the latter that if it is reluctant to do so, it should explain why.
The US Senate has approved a bill by voice vote that would require the Secretary of State to report to Congress on whether the terror outfit meets the criteria to be designated a foreign terrorist organisation, and if not, to explain why.
The report is due within 30 days of the president signing the measure, reports The Dawn.
The administration has sanctioned top individuals of the Haqqani network, but it is still reviewing whether to label the entire organisation. That delay has frustrated members of Congress.
The Haqqani network, which largely operates in eastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan, is affiliated with both the Taliban and al Qaeda.
US officials say it represents one of the biggest threats to Afghanistan stability because it is believed to use Pakistan as a rear base for attacks on American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, the paper said.
The votes come just weeks after the US and Pakistan ended a seven-month standoff with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologising to Pakistan for the killing of 24 Pakistani troops last November and in return securing the reopening of critical NATO supply lines into Afghanistan.
Throughout the uneasy relationship between the US and Pakistan, US officials have pressed Islamabad to crack down on the extremist Haqqani network.
In May, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees wrote to Hillary asking her to act immediately in labelling the Haqqani network a terrorist group.