WASHINGTON: Two key US Senators have introduced a legislation in the US Senate asking for the Haqqani Network to be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO), saying it fits the criteria outlined for the FTO.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee and vice chairman of the committee Senator Saxby Chambliss issued a press release on Tuesday saying they have asked, in the bill, for the State Department to designate the Haqqani Network as an FTO.
The release stated that the “FTO designation makes it illegal to provide material support or resources to the Haqqani Network, an organisation responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US, Afghan and coalition service members in Afghanistan and countless civilians.”
The bill comes a day after the Congress was to vote on a bill calling for the Secretary of State to report whether the Haqqani Network met the criteria of being designated as an FTO or not. The House has yet to vote on that bill.
“You cannot negotiate with terrorists, and in my view that’s exactly what the Haqqani Network is,” said Senator Feinstein. “I have urged the State Department to designate Haqqani as an FTO for more than two years. Meanwhile, the organisation continues to kill Americans in Afghanistan and launch brazen and indiscriminate attacks against innocent men, women and children in the region.”
In the press release, Senator Chambliss dubbed the Obama administration’s failure to designate the Haqqani network as a FTO as indefensible. “The Haqqanis have conducted numerous attacks against our military personnel, assaulted our embassy in Kabul and continue to pose a grave threat to the security and interests of the United States. It is well past time to designate this network as a terrorist group,” he stated.
According to the criteria of the FTO designation, the organisation can be dubbed as such if it is foreign, engages in terrorist activity which threatens the security of United States citizens or the national security of the United States.
US officials have repeatedly called on Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani Network, which they have blamed for a series of attacks on US-led forces in Afghanistan, and an attack on the US Embassy in Kabul.
The press release said that the Senators had also written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in May, asking her to immediately designate the Haqqani Network as a FTO.
“The Senate legislation is cosponsored by Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.)”, said the press release.