WASHINGTON, Sept 7: The United States on Friday designated the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organisation but said the action would have no impact on Pakistan.
The State Department also said that they had “no plan, whatsoever, to declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism”.
State Department officials told a briefing in Washington that Pakistan had been informed of the intended move “at least weeks before the decision was announced, if not more”.
And the Pakistani government expressed no reservations or objection to the US decision, the officials said.
They also said that the labelling would not affect the reconciliation process and Haqqani officials could be engaged in peace talks despite the designation.
The Afghan government, the officials said, could also hold talks with the network if it desired to do so.
In a statement issued by her office, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “Today, I have sent a report to Congress saying that the Haqqani Network meets the statutory criteria … for designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO).”
This action meets the requirements of the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2012, the US Congress passed last month. The act required Secretary Clinton to put the Haqqani network on the FTO list by Sept 9 or explain her inaction to Congress.
“Based on that assessment, I notified Congress of my intent to designate the Haqqani Network as an FTO. I also intend to designate the organisation as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity” under an executive order.
Commenting on the US action, a Pakistan Embassy spokesman, Nadeem Hotiana, said: “This is an internal matter for the United States. It is not our business.”
He pointed out that the Haqqanis were not Pakistani nationals and expressed Pakistan’s desire to “continue working with all international partners, including the US, in combating extremism and terrorism”.
The consequences of these designations include a prohibition against knowingly providing material support or resources to, or engaging in other transactions with, the Haqqani Network, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organisation that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of US persons.
These actions follow a series of other steps that the US government already has taken against the Haqqanis. The Departments of State and Treasury previously designated key Haqqani Network leaders and other militants with ties to the Haqqanis under the same authority.
“We also continue our robust campaign of diplomatic, military, and intelligence pressure on the network, demonstrating the US resolve to degrade the organisation’s ability to execute violent attacks,” Mrs Clinton said.