Terrorists?: US Congress to vote on Haqqani network bill

Published: July 9, 2012

US authorities have repeatedly pressed the Government of Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network, an insurgent group that has been accused of several attacks on US-led and coalition forces in Afghanistan. PHOTO: FILE

US authorities have repeatedly pressed the Government of Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network, an insurgent group that has been accused of several attacks on US-led and coalition forces in Afghanistan. PHOTO: FILE The Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2011 stipulates that 30 days after the President has approved the bill, the Secretary of State has to submit a report to Congressional committees. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

WASHINGTON: The US Congress did not vote on a bill on Monday which called for the Secretary of State to report whether the Haqqani network meets the criteria for being designated as a terrorist network.

The Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2011 stipulates that 30 days after the President has approved the bill, the Secretary of State has to submit a report to Congressional committees on the matter. Additionally, the bill includes that “nothing in this Act may be construed to infringe upon the sovereignty of Pakistan to combat militant or terrorist groups operating inside the boundaries of Pakistan.”

The House had convened on Monday evening to discuss the bill, but the session was adjourned to Tuesday without a vote.

The text of the bill states that the Congress has found that the Haqqani Network was responsible for attacks on US-led forces in Afghanistan, as well as on the US Embassy in Kabul.

Citing former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen’s Senate testimony calling the Haqqani Network as a “veritable arm” of the ISI, the bill states that top leaders of the Haqqani network have already been added to a list of “specially designated global terrorists.”

The Senate has already passed the bill, which was introduced by Senator Richard Burr, in December 2011. The bill is now being brought to the House floor, where it was expected to be voted on on Monday evening.

US authorities have repeatedly pressed the Government of Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network, an insurgent group that has been accused of several attacks on US-led and coalition forces in Afghanistan and is believed to have bases on both sides of the Durand line.

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Reader Comments (31)

  • Altaf Hussain, Mumbai
    Jul 9, 2012 - 8:08PM

    The screws have started to tighten. Guess around whom?

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  • Hi There
    Jul 9, 2012 - 8:41PM

    So attacking US occupying forces in Afghanistan is terrorism? in that case when will they declare the rest of Afghan Taliban as terrorists? It’s incredible how US uses these cheap tactics to pressure Pakistan.

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  • Arya
    Jul 9, 2012 - 8:53PM

    For every bill they pass against Pakistan, they pass another favoring them. It is a zero sum game and waste of public money. I have not seen anything happening on the ground as per the terms of these bills. They are free to sign the cheque on one hand and pull the trigger on the other, as they want, but may kindly stop playing to the galleries. I do not think Pakistanis too are intimidated by these as they know everything happens behind the screen and under the table!Recommend

  • gp65
    Jul 9, 2012 - 9:02PM

    @Hi There: “So attacking US occupying forces in Afghanistan is terrorism? in that case when will they declare the rest of Afghan Taliban as terrorists?”

    You asked a rhetorical question and the answer in your mind is a clear No. In US mind the answer is a clear Yes. Their biggest complaint against Pakistan is that it provides safe havens to Haqqanis and Quetta Shura.

    It would be fine if Pakistan did not think they were terrorists and stated that openly. But Pakistan claims to be a NATO ally. In that capacity, it is Pakistan’s duty to take action against Haqqanis and Afghan Taliban. It is this running with Haqqani hare and hunting with NATO hound policy of Pakistan that is seen as duplicitous by the whole world.

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  • kaalchakra
    Jul 9, 2012 - 9:23PM

    Terrorists, freedom-fighter, jihadis, call them what you like – Pakistanis are not going to shrink from supporting those fighting for justice.

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  • Hi There
    Jul 9, 2012 - 9:27PM

    @gp65, no it’s not a rhetorical question, you occupy a country and when people resist they become terrorists? this is stupid no matter whose point of view. Taliban control many parts in Afghanistan, Haqqani himself has said he is based in Afghanistan so the issue of Pakistan providing safe havens doesn’t arise, plus Pakistan is allowing US to carry out drone strikes so why don’t they attack Haqqani militants if they have such a huge presence in Pakistan?

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  • Raza Khan
    Jul 9, 2012 - 9:30PM

    Pakistan must distance itself from these terrorists because they are simply bad news for Pakistan & the whole region including the civilized world.

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  • gp65
    Jul 9, 2012 - 10:09PM

    @Hi There: “@gp65, no it’s not a rhetorical question, you occupy a country and when people resist they become terrorists”

    My dear if you describe the NATO forces as occupying forces then you must also recognize that at least officially Pakistan is an ally of those same ‘occupying’ NATO forces.If you truly believe that Afghan Taliban and Haqqanis are in the right, why are you a NATO ally in the NATO fight against these people?

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  • FactCheck
    Jul 9, 2012 - 10:10PM

    If senate has already passed it then, the congress is going to pass it and Obama doesn’t have choice but sign it in an election year. Who wants look soft on terror in an election year.

    Some think US is occupying Afghanistan. It is not an occupation when the elected government allows you to stay.

    Pakistan doesn’t really iunderstand the problems they are going to have if Pakistan doesn’t change its ways and stop supporting terrorism.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Jul 9, 2012 - 10:12PM

    @kaalchakra: “Terrorists, freedom-fighter, jihadis, call them what you like – Pakistanis are not going to shrink from supporting those fighting for justice.”

    Ah so everyone in Pakistan has already got justice, so you are busy trying to support people outside Pakistan fighting for justice? The Hindu minor girls that are kidnapped, forcibly converted and married off, the Christians falsely accused of blasphemy, the Ahmadis, the Hazara Shias, the Balochs, the Punjabi settlers in Balochistan – everyone has got justice already right?

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  • Cautious
    Jul 9, 2012 - 10:24PM

    @FactCheck

    Some think US is occupying
    Afghanistan. It is not an occupation
    when the elected government allows you
    to stay.

    True — and I would add that the ISAF is in Afghanistan with UN approval – something that rarely gets reported in Pakistan.

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  • Hi There
    Jul 9, 2012 - 10:28PM

    @gp65, My dear, where did I deny that Pakistan is an “ally” of the occupying forces? Similarly where did I say Afghan Taliban/Haqqani Network are on the right or on the wrong? I’m not debating who is right or wrong but the fact is designating someone a terrorist because they are involved in attacks against your forces is an incredibly stupid thing to do. There is a war going on in Afghanistan, do you want the opposing forces to shower flowers on US forces? and if Haqqani is a terrorist then what about the rest of the Taliban? unless you’re blind you can see quite clearly Haqqani is the focus solely because of his alleged ties with Pakistan.

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  • Hi There
    Jul 9, 2012 - 10:36PM

    @FactCheck, foreign forces occupy a land, establish a puppet government, that puppet “allows” the foreign forces to stay therefore the occupying forces are no longer occupying? hahaha this is pure comedy.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Jul 9, 2012 - 11:26PM

    @Hi There: “@gp65, My dear, where did I deny that Pakistan is an “ally” of the occupying forces? Similarly where did I say Afghan Taliban/Haqqani Network are on the right or on the wrong? I’m not debating who is right or wrong but the fact is designating someone a terrorist because they are involved in attacks against your forces is an incredibly stupid thing to do. There is a war going on in Afghanistan, do you want the opposing forces to shower flowers on US forces?”

    To my mind if the HAqqanis only targetted NATO forces, I could see your logic that they are simply a resistance force. But they also target ordinary innocent civilians. That makes them terrorists. OF course there are many other terrorist organizations in the world. IF you ask me as an Indian I would say LeT and JeM are the biggest ones. But the fact is that US Congress only cares about what affects US interests.This is understandable. Each country should focus on its national self interest. Recommend

  • DB
    Jul 10, 2012 - 12:05AM

    @ayesha_khan:
    NATO also has targeted civilians, intentionally and unintentionally. There sophisticated AC-130 gunships, JDAMs, hellfire missiles etc. that rip humans into little pieces don’t discriminate against talib or afghan. There is enough evidence to label NATO terrorists.

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  • Imran Con
    Jul 10, 2012 - 12:19AM

    @Hi There:
    Do you even know what terrorism is? It’s a form of tactic. So, yes, they would all fall under that label.

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  • Hi There
    Jul 10, 2012 - 12:43AM

    @ayesha_khan, “they also target ordinary innocent civilians” no they don’t deliberately “target” innocent civilians but even if I agree with you or US that Haqqani Network is a terrorist organization then that brings us back to my original question, why aren’t the rest of the Taliban designated as terrorists? Are they not fighting US forces and targeting (according to you) innocent civilians? Haqqani Network is part of the Afghan Taliban and Mullah Omar is their leader. The fact is you simply can’t defend this stupid bill.

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  • Wonderful
    Jul 10, 2012 - 1:34AM

    Pakistan has been fighting a proxy war against USA/NATO and yet calling itself an ally and collecting money from them. Once these forces leave end 2014, the year 2015 will be critical for USA/NATO to decide whether to go after directly Haqqanis backers. Pakistan has lost all the wars it has started, lost half of their land to Bangladesh and China and neither got Kashmir or Afghan. The only thing that they have received is misery and self opulence of being important.

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  • Amused
    Jul 10, 2012 - 1:58AM

    If the US was going to set up a puppet government for Afganistan it would have selected a much friendlier and more rational one than is there now.

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  • Arindom
    Jul 10, 2012 - 1:59AM

    @Hi There:
    agree with gp65. If Pakistan really believes that Haqqanis, etc.. are freedom fighters – then why doesn’t it simply say so and distance itself from all NATO – designations? It is this speaking with a forked tongue that has caused it to lose all credibility.

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  • Hegdefunder
    Jul 10, 2012 - 2:08AM

    This is the next stage of testing the Pakistan’s Ghairat ! Are you you really going to defend these cockroaches or ccome out and deal with them ?
    There is a requirement of Simple Answer ! Yes or No !
    The rest of the world will judge you on that basis , trust me as i already have !
    The games are over and time to come clean and face the Music !

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  • Mahakaalchakra
    Jul 10, 2012 - 3:19AM

    @ayesha_khan:

    You missed the justice given to 3 million fellow citizens and 300,000 females in 1971 in East Pakistan by the elders of Kaalchakra.

    I must admits your posts are so clear and to-the-point that I go straight to your response. I wish you should contribute an article to the ET as well.

    God bless you.

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  • Jul 10, 2012 - 4:14AM

    @kaalchakra: I find your comment disgusting and in poor taste!

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  • ayesha_khan
    Jul 10, 2012 - 4:22AM

    @DB: “NATO also has targeted civilians, intentionally and unintentionally. There sophisticated AC-130 gunships, JDAMs, hellfire missiles etc. that rip humans into little pieces don’t discriminate against talib or afghan. There is enough evidence to label NATO terrorists.”

    Well if you believe there is enough evidence to label NATO a terrorist, go ahead and pass such a bill in your country.
    Secondly the drones target terrorists . Occasionally their family members who are being used as human shields also are impacted but never does the drone target a civilian. This is different from terrorists who can and DO target civilians. Also drones are far more accurate than the F16 bombing carried out by your army during army operation where there is much more civilian damage – both in terms of life but also in terms of property.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Jul 10, 2012 - 6:51AM

    @Mahakaalchakra: Thank you. Your kind words are greatly appreciated.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Jul 10, 2012 - 6:59AM

    @Hi There: “The fact is you simply can’t defend this stupid bill.”

    I was not ‘defending’ the bill – just responding to your statement about definition of terrorism. I do not disagree with the bill. Anyway it is unclear what I would achieve by defending a bill that is going o be voted in the US Congress on a Pakistani website. Likewise you can call it stupid if you like – you have the right to do so. IT still will make no difference to whether the bill passes or not. The only thing that potentially could prevent the bill from passing is the post GLOC opening diplomacy by HRK and Sherry Rehman, both of whom appear to be very capable.

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  • jawad
    Jul 10, 2012 - 7:12AM

    well Americans are in Afghanistan for the resources and the drug money not for Taliban or any other terrorists groups this shows they do not want to quit unless they found any other country to invade, plans are set for Syria by creating a conflict between Syrian government and so called rebels which are in fact thugs hired by CIA.

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  • not-an-indian
    Jul 10, 2012 - 8:00AM

    @ayesha_khan – why don’t you spend you energies trying to convince your countrymen to accept its fellow-muslims. you are wasting your energy here. We don’t and will not take indians seriously. they pontificate on matters of which they have no direct knowledge.

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  • Center
    Jul 10, 2012 - 10:20AM

    @AK “But they also target ordinary innocent”

    How many Civilian Die in Drone and other similar attacks?

    How many Terrorist Organizations are operating in India?

    I think it is ridicules how the countries in power at any in history till now justify and apply the writes and wrongs to suite there needs

    All this I am holier then you attitude has got to stop and self checks should be done by Nations so we stop passing the buck.
    Wars and Killings should be stopped

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  • ayesha_khan
    Jul 10, 2012 - 6:11PM

    @not-an-indian: “@ayesha_khan – why don’t you spend you energies trying to convince your countrymen to accept its fellow-muslims. you are wasting your energy here.”

    I don’t need to spend time doing this since Muslims are very well accepted and have reached the top in every field. There have been 3 Muslim Presidents. People happily spend their hard earned movies watching movies acted by Muslim heroes and listening to music provided by Muslim music directors. Indian cricket team has Muslims and in fact 2 have been captains. India has highly successful Muslim business people including billionaire Azim Premji. Some of the top classical music performers in the country are also Muslim including Ustaad Bismillah Khan who was awarded Bharat Ratna – the highest civilian honour. Lately there was huge celebration that an acceptable CEC has been found in Pakistan. Do yo uknow that current Indian CEC is Muslim? Muslim men married to Hindu women and vice versa in the public sphere have not generated any public outrage on either side.

    Facts are stubborn things. All your hatred cannot change facts.

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  • Surya
    Jul 10, 2012 - 7:11PM

    @ayesha_khan:
    I am upset with you that you missed out on our most beloved Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam..Whenever he comes to Singapore, i don’t miss his inspirational talks..

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