Washington, Sep 23: Top US lawmakers have pressed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to put the militant Haqqani network on the terror blacklist immediately, citing testimonies by officials that the outfit was an “arm” of the Pakistan’s military intelligence.
“I request that the State Department list the network as a foreign terrorism organisation”, said Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein.
Feinstein in a statement said that the Haqqani network “met all the standards of the blacklist as it has been conducting attacks against US targets and personnel in Afghanistan and “poses a continuing threat to American, Afghan and allied personnel and interests”.
Another leading senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee demanded at a Congressional hearing why was there an inordinate delay in designating the network as a terrorist organisation.
“….This step is long overdue,” Levin said.
“I hope the State Department will move quickly to designate the Haqqanis” as a foreign terrorist organisation,” Levin said as he and other lawmakers urged Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to take steps to ensure that the Haqqani network is not able to attack Americans.
Foremost is the threat posed by the militant extremists launching attacks against Afghan and coalition forces from sanctuaries in Pakistan, particularly the Haqqani group in North Waziristan and the Afghan Taliban shura in Quetta, he said.
The sharp comments from the lawmakers came after US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen charged that the Haqqani network “acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s military intelligence agency”.