WASHINGTON, July 18: The US Congress has declared the Haqqani network a terrorist organisation, sending a unanimous resolution to the State Department to put the group on its terrorism list.

The US Senate has already passed a similar resolution and urged the Obama administration to take legal action against the Haqqani network.

The House bill, adopted unanimously on Tuesday night, also asked the State Department to explain why it was refusing to take action against the network.

“The Haqqani Network is engaged in a reign of terror in Afghanistan and is the single largest threat for IEDs our soldiers face in that country,” said Republican Congressman Mike Rogers who chairs the House Intelligence Committee.

“Now is the time for action, not simply paperwork and talk. There is no good reason that this group has not yet been designated.”

In May, top Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying that the administration should listen overcome its reluctance and label the Haqqani network a terrorist group.

Meanwhile, US legal experts, appearing on various television channels, warned that once the group is branded a terrorist organisation, Pakistan would have to sever all its ties to the network or it too would be branded a state sponsor of terrorism.

But US foreign policy experts say the administration fears the branding would make it even more difficult for the United States to negotiate with the Taliban as the Haqqani network was an integral part of the Taliban outfit.The United States plans to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and wants to have some arrangement with the Taliban before the departure.

The measure will go to the US Senate once again for reconciling the two resolutions and then it will go to President Barack Obama, who has not announced his position on the matter.

At recent news briefings, State Department officials have acknowledged that they have been studying since last year whether to put the Haqqani network on their list of foreign terrorist organisations but have not yet taken a decision.


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