WASHINGTON - The US Congress gave the State Department a month to decide whether the Haqqani network meets the criteria to be designated as a foreign terrorist group.
US officials claim the Taliban-linked network based in Pakistan has been responsible for launching attacks on US and coalition forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The House of Representatives Tuesday approved a bill, by voice vote, seeking the terrorist organisation designation, thus increasing pressure on the Obama administration.
Although the Haqqani Network has claimed responsibility for attacks on NATO troops and the US Embassy in Kabul, American media reports pointed out that the Obama administration has yet to make the terrorist organisation 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 organisation and grave threat to our security,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican, 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’, according to media reports.