WASHINGTON, Sept 3: The Obama administration seems inclined to declare the Haqqani network a terrorist organisation as it faces a Sept 9 congressional deadline to take a decision.
Since Sept 9 is a Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has only five days to make that decision to meet the deadline.
On July 27, the US Congress passed a resolution, declaring that the Haqqani network meets the criteria for designation as a foreign terrorist organisation and the Secretary of State should so designate the group as such.
If the secretary determines that the Haqqani network does not meet the criteria, she needs to send a detailed justification to Congress.
Last week, Secretary Clinton told a briefing she would meet the deadline and the US media interpreted the announcement as an indication that the Obama administration was ready to outlaw the Haqqani network.
The designation, however, may complicate reconciliation talks with the Taliban as the Haqqani Network is integral part of the militant movement.
The labelling will also increase pressure on Pakistan to curb the group’s activities inside its border.
The Americans believe that the Haqqani network has established safe havens in Pakistan’s tribal belt from where it launches attacks on US and Afghan forces inside Afghanistan.
The United States and Pakistan had detailed discussions on the issue during ISI chief Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam’s visit to Washington earlier last month, diplomatic sources told Dawn.During these talks, US officials informed Pakistan that they might soon designate the Haqqani network a terrorist organisation “and were surprised when the Pakistanis offered no resistance”, said a source.
Once a group is placed on the State Department’s FTO list, all US allies are required to outlaw the group and ban all its activities within their borders. A failure to do so may trigger strict US sanctions against the violator and can also lead to designating that country a “state sponsor of terrorism”.