Monday, August 13, 2012

Haqqani Receives "Terrorist" Designation

President Obama signed the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2012 into law on Saturday, August 12. The US Secretary of State must now submit a report to Congress within 30 days.

The US House of Representatives and the Senate have both passed bills urging the secretary to declare the Haqqani a terrorist network.

Once a group is placed on the State Department’s FTO list, all US allies are also required to join the fight against the designated group. A failure to do so allows the US administration to declare that country a “state sponsor of terrorism”.

Originating in Afghanistan during the mid-1970s, the Haqqani Network was nurtured by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan.

In October 2011, Hillary Clinton indicated that American officials had met with the representatives of the group in 2010 to gauge whether they could be enticed to join peace talks aimed at ending the violence in Afghanistan. Despite those talks, U.S. diplomats in Afghanistan warned earlier this year in secret cables that the Haqqani network was undermining the success of the American strategy in Afghanistan.

The State Department has been studying whether to add the Haqqani network to a list of foreign terrorist organizations. The legislation, first introduced last year by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), forces the Obama administration to add the group to the list of terrorist organizations, or provide a detailed justification to Congress as to why it won’t be added.

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