US inches closer to labeling Haqqani Network a terrorist organisation

The bill still needs to be signed by President Barrack Obama to come into force.

Afp July 27, 2012

WASHINGTON: The US Senate on Friday unanimously passed a resolution urging the State Department to put the Haqqani network, which operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the US list of terrorist groups.

The late Thursday voted followed the passing of a resolution in the House of Representative last week. It now requires President Barack Obama's signature to enter into force.

The resolution says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should designate the militant network as a foreign terrorist group.

It gives the State Department 30 days to report on whether it meets the criteria under the law, and if not, to explain why not.

The Obama administration is reportedly reluctant to put the group on the terrorism list while US envoys are trying to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban that may have included the Haqqani network.

But in pushing for the measure, lawmakers noted that those talks have been halted since last year.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, called the resolution's passage "a significant development."

"The Haqqanis are engaged in a reign of terror in Afghanistan and the network poses the single largest threat for IEDs our soldiers face in that country," he said.

"They actively plot and kill US and allied soldiers and routinely harm innocent Afghan civilian men, women and children in their path," he said.

In June during a trip to Afghanistan, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta emphasized the key role the Haqqani network has played in numerous attacks and called on Pakistan to take action against it.