One of the most violent groups operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan — one which top U.S. military officials have previously said has the support of some in Pakistan’s intelligence services — has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department, according to reports from NPR’s Michele Kelemen, The Associated Press, Reuters and other news outlets.
Michele says that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s signing of that declaration earlier today “is likely to anger Pakistan. … The Haqqanis have been blamed for a series of attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the U.S. accuses Pakistan of giving the group safe haven.”
The New York Times reports that the declaration:
“Culminates nearly two years of spirited debate inside the administration. …
“Several State Department and military officials argued that designating the organization would help strangle the group’s fund-raising activities in countries like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and pressure Pakistan to open a long-expected military offensive against the militants.
“Many other senior officials, including several in the White House, expressed deep reservations that blacklisting the group could further damage badly frayed relations with Pakistan, undercut peace talks with the Taliban and possibly jeopardize the fate of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier known to be held by the militants.”
Members of the Haqqani network have been among those targeted by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.