U.S. mulls terror list for Haqqani network

Sept. 28, 2011 at 12:52 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The United States is reviewing whether to place the entire Haqqani network on the terror list, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Answering a question in her media briefing about whether the United States is considering designating the entire violent group as on the list, Nuland said a number of "Haqqani kingpins" have already been individually designated, the State Department said on its Web site.

"We are continuing to review whether to designate the entire organization," Nuland said.

She gave no time frame about the review, saying only "when we have an announcement to make we will be able to make it."

A number of U.S. officials and military leaders have been speaking recently about the Haqqani network, suspected of enjoying safe haven in Pakistan and being an asset of the Pakistani military and its top spy agency. The group has been blamed for some recent high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including one that targeted the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul Sept. 13.

Pakistan is under growing U.S. pressure to go after the Haqqanis but Islamabad has denied U.S. charges.

Reminded about U.S. claims it has evidence the Haqqani network as a whole was behind the Kabul attacks, Nuland said: "Again, there are a number of legal things that have to go into making these designations (on the terror list), particularly when you designate a group as a whole, and you put a big blanket over a diverse network."

Nuland said "virtually every principal in this government" is engaged in intense consultation and conversation with their Pakistani counterparts as the two countries have a vital interest in fighting counterterrorism together."

"So we've made absolutely clear that the Haqqani network is job one, that we want to do it together, and that's the conversation that we're having," she said, adding the United States has not sought any third country help to mediate in the discussions.

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