Terrorist label sought for Haqqani network

July 17, 2012 at 11:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Congress gave the State Department a month to decide whether the Haqqani network meets the criteria to be designated as a foreign terrorist group.

U.S. officials say the Taliban-linked violent network based in Pakistan has been responsible for launching attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

The House of Representatives Tuesday approved a bill seeking the terrorist organization designation, thus increasing pressure on the Obama administration, Fox News reported.

Although the Haqqani Network has claimed responsibility for attacks on NATO troops and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the report said the Obama administration has yet to make the terrorist organization designation as it pursues negotiations with the Taliban. The State Department has said it is in the final stages of a review, even as the United States continues to press Pakistan to crack down on the network.

The House and the Senate Intelligence Committees had earlier asked for immediate action on the designation.

"Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress agree that the Haqqani Network is a violent terrorist organization and grave threat to our security," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said in a June 27 statement. "The Haqqanis are responsible for killing hundreds of our troops, and their indiscriminate attacks have also murdered countless innocent Afghan men, women and children."

The bill noted top Haqqani network leaders have already been added to a list of "specially designated global terrorists," Pakistan's Express Tribune reported.

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