Report: US to Blacklist Militant Haqqani Network

Posted September 7th, 2012 at 1:50 am (UTC-5)
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A leading U.S. newspaper is reporting that the Obama administration is planning to designate the militant Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.

The New York Times on Friday quoted unnamed administration officials who said the decision to blacklist the group blamed for attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan came after months of debate.

A senior State Department official says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will notify Congress Friday of her decision regarding a terrorist designation for the Haqqani network. A terrorist designation would pave the way for tough financial sanctions against the group.

Some U.S. officials have expressed concern that placing the Haqqani network on a blacklist could further damage already fragile relations with Pakistan and slow efforts to negotiate a political settlement to the Afghan war by undercutting talks with the Taliban.

The militant group, which is reportedly based in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal agency, is believed to have close ties with elements of Pakistani intelligence. Pakistani officials have rejected the allegations as baseless.

The Haqqani network is blamed for a number of high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including assaults last year on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, NATO headquarters, and a coalition base.

The U.S. has been pressing Pakistan to launch a military offensive in North Waziristan, but the Pakistani army has said its forces are stretched too thin to target militants in the tribal agency. U.S. and Pakistani officials confirmed last week that a drone strike killed the day-to-day operations commander of the Haqqani network, Badruddin Haqqani.