Friday, September 07, 2012
U.S. to blacklist Haqqani network - New York Times
Washington (Reuters) - The United States is preparing to blacklist the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, accused of some high-profile attacks, as early as Friday, the New York Times said on its website.
Designation by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization would bring sanctions such as criminal penalties for anyone providing material support to the group and seizure of any assets in the United States. The administration was facing a congressional deadline this weekend.
The New York Times said senior officials who argued against blacklisting the group were concerned it could further damage relations with Pakistan and possibly jeopardize the fate of U.S. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who is being held by the militants.
But State Department and military officials who argued for the designation believed it would help curtail the group's fund-raising activities in countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and pressure Pakistan to act against the militants, the newspaper said.
"This shows that we are using everything we can to put the squeeze on these guys," one administration official involved in the process told the New York Times on condition of anonymity. The newspaper said four administration officials late Thursday said the government was going ahead with the designation.
Asked for comment on the New York Times story, a senior State Department official said: "As she noted earlier this week, the Secretary expects to send her report on the Haqqani network to Congress today, September 7, and announce her decision regarding designation of the Haqqani network."
The al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network has been blamed by U.S. officials for some of the worst recent attacks in Afghanistan, including attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and on U.S. troops.
The United States accuses Pakistan's intelligence agency of supporting the Haqqani network and using it as a proxy in Afghanistan to gain leverage against the growing influence of its arch-rival India in the country.
Pakistan denies the allegations.
(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Andrew Quinn; Editing by Jackie Frank)