US lawmakers from both parties urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday to declare the Pakistan-linked Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organisation for its ‘indiscriminate attacks’ on US interests.
Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and other lawmakers travelled to Afghanistan last week and met with President Hamid Karzai, US envoy Ryan Crocker and US military officials. They said that with Taliban peace talks stalled for months, there was little incentive to hold back on the terror designation.
Before stepping down as the chief of the US military last year, Admiral Mike Mullen told Congress that the Haqqani network was a ‘veritable arm’ of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). A formal designation as a terrorist group will make it a crime in the US to provide any support to the Haqqani network.
Separately, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher suggested introducing the Pakistan Terrorism Accountability Act 2012 in Congress, which asks the US Government to provide $50 million to the family of each American citizen killed “as a result of actions of Pakistan’s ISI or support provided by the ISI to other organisations or individuals, including the Haqqani Network.” The bill suggests withholding $50 million per victim from US assistance to Pakistan.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2012.
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