Hillary reviewing blacklisting Haqqani network
Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considering the issue of slapping sanctions against Pakistan-based Haqqani network and designate it as a terrorist group after strong appeals by Congress, her spokesperson said.
"We share the grave concern of the Congress with regard to the activities of the Haqqani network," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said yesterday.
Secretary (Hillary) Clinton is "considering right now and reviewing the issue”, she said when asked about a law signed on Friday by President Barack Obama that gave 30 days to Hillary to determine if the Haqqani network meets the criteria of a terrorist group.
The law was approved with overwhelming support of both Republican and Democrat parties in Congress.
The Haqqani network is linked to Afghan Taliban and is accused of carrying out a number of attacks against American and Indian interests in Afghanistan.
"We have both State and Treasury, designated a number of individuals within the network. As you said, the President has signed the piece of legislation, the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2012. He signed it last Friday," she said.
"The act gives the Secretary 30 days to report on the Haqqani Network, so that clock has just started ticking, and we’ll let you know when we have something to say," she said.
But this does not mean that Haqqani network would be designated as a foreign terrorist organisation within these 30 days, she clarified.
"She has a reporting requirement to Congress, and I'm confident she won't miss a reporting requirement to Congress," she said.
"We have grave concerns about the threat that they pose inside Pakistan and the threat that they pose across the border," Nuland said. The question of whether to designate the entire Haqqani organisation is something that the US has been looking at for some time, and no decision has been made, Nuland said.
"This is separate and distinct. She owes Congress now, within 30 days of last Friday, a report as to whether they meet the criteria. Now you can obviously see a relationship between these two things, but the expectation is that she’ll meet the deadline in making the report," she said.
"Congress is expecting her to give them a report as to whether they meet the criteria. The expectation is that she will give that report. That is a separate and distinct matter from whether, either in coordination with this or separately, she makes a decision about designation and when she might do that," Nuland clarified when asked if the outfit would be slapped with sanctions.
"We want to see a coordinated effort on both sides of the border to squeeze the Haqqani Network that we want to see Afghanistan and Pakistan work together with us, work together with ISAF to maximise our ability to deal with the threat that they pose. And we are continuing to work on both sides of the border on that issue," Nuland said.