WASHINGTON: The Obama administration has decided to blacklist the Pakistan-based Haqqani network as a terror group and is expected to announce the decision as early as Friday, the New York Times reported.
The Afghan government said Friday it would fully support a US decision to blacklist the Haqqani network as a terrorist group, saying it would deal a crushing blow to insurgents seeking to bring down its administration.
Afghan officials have repeatedly joined their American counterparts in urging Pakistan to do more to eliminate the faction, as both Kabul and Islamabad trade blame for the violence plaguing both their countries.
“It will be a big move in destroying terrorists and their supporters, because the Haqqani network is the most dangerous terrorist group,” interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told AFP.
He predicted that a terrorist designation would “dismantle” the Haqqani faction and deal a major blow to its allies in the Taliban, which leads the insurgency against the Western-backed Kabul government.
US officials have been debating the move for a month, with opponents fearing that it could pour more salt on the wounded alliance with Pakistan after months of turmoil in the delicate relationship.
But the Times reported late Thursday that supporters of the move had won out, arguing that the designation would help to disrupt the Haqqani network's fund-raising activities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The network been accused of launching scores of cross-border attacks on US troops in Afghanistan from strongholds in Pakistan's restive northwest, and Washington has demanded that Islamabad do more to deny them “safe havens.”US officials have linked the Haqqani network to some of the boldest attacks in Afghanistan, including a June assault on a hotel near Kabul that killed 18 people and a siege last year of the US embassy.
The State Department has designated certain members of the Haqqani network as terrorists but has resisted blacklisting the entire group. The United States has slowly been rebuilding cooperation with Pakistan, badly damaged after US forces found and killed Osama bin Laden last year near the military's main academy.