House Republicans said that the addition of an insurgent network attacking NATO forces in Afghanistan to the State Department Foreign Terrorist Organization list is long overdue.
On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the Haqqani Network meets the criteria to be an FTO and would be listed.
“I take this action in the context of our overall strategy in Afghanistan, the five lines of effort that President Obama laid out when he was in Afghanistan in May: increasing the capacity of Afghan security forces to fight insurgents; transitioning to Afghan security lead; building an enduring partnership with Afghanistan; pursuing Afghan-led reconciliation; and putting together an international consensus to support peace and stability in the region,” Clinton said in a statement.
The Haqqani Network has been holding U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 26, captive since 2009.
“I fully support and welcome the Administration’s decision to formally designate the Haqqani network a Foreign Terrorist Organization. However, this action is long overdue. It should not have required Congress to spur the Administration into making this decision,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).
“The Haqqani network is one of the most dangerous and violent extremist organizations operating under the al-Qaeda umbrella and is responsible for hundreds of attacks against our troops and allies in Afghanistan and the Middle East. With this formal designation we can now begin to strike at the heart of this network and attack their financial and material support,” she added.
On June 27, Ros-Lehtinen, Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) introduced legislation to express the sense of Congress that the Haqqani Network should be designated. Obama signed a bill that included much of their language a month ago.
“After aggressive efforts in Congress to hold this network accountable, I am pleased that the Secretary of State has finally announced her intention to officially designated the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. This is a critical step that clears the path for the United States to begin to put a choke hold on the network’s finances,” Rogers said. “The Haqqani Network actively plots and kills U.S. and allied soldiers and routinely harms innocent Afghan civilian men, women, and children in their path. In addition to actively fighting the Haqqanis on the battlefields, we must now move aggressively to block their flow of money and support and starve the network of resources.”