By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2012 – The Defense Department has welcomed the decision by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to designate the Haqqani network a terrorist organization, Pentagon Spokesman George Little said today.
Clinton notified Congress that the Haqqani network meets the Immigration and Nationality Act’s statutory criteria for designation as a foreign terrorist organization.
“The Haqqani network represents a significant threat to U.S. national security, and we will continue our aggressive military action against this threat,” Little said in a written statement. Military officials have repeatedly connected the group to deadly attacks in Afghanistan, including those against U.S. forces and targets such as the American embassy in Kabul.
The organization also qualifies as a specially designated global terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224, which took effect in 2001, Clinton’s report says. The order blocks property and prohibits transactions with people who commit, threaten to commit or support acts of terrorism against the United States.
In her report to Congress, Clinton said the consequences of the designations “include a prohibition against knowingly providing material support or resources to, or engaging in other transactions with, the Haqqani network, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of U.S. persons.”
The actions, she added, follow a series of other steps the U.S. government already has taken against the Haqqanis.
“The Department of State previously designated key Haqqani network leaders under E.O. 13224, and the Department of the Treasury has designated other militants with ties to the Haqqanis under the same authority,” Clinton said in the report.
“We also continue our robust campaign of diplomatic, military and intelligence pressure on the network,” she added, “demonstrating the United States’ resolve to degrade the organization’s ability to execute violent attacks.”
Clinton said she took the action in the context of the overall Afghanistan strategy -- the five lines of effort that President Barack Obama laid out in Afghanistan in May.
These include increasing the capacity of Afghan security forces to fight insurgents, transitioning to an Afghan security lead, building an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, pursuing Afghan-led reconciliation, and creating an international consensus to support peace and stability in the region.
“We will continue to work with both Afghanistan and Pakistan to move these efforts forward,” Clinton said, “and build a more peaceful and secure future.”
The designations also build on Defense Department efforts, Little said, “to degrade the network's capacity to carry out attacks, including affecting fundraising abilities, targeting them with our military and intelligence resources, and pressing Pakistan to take action.”
The designations will reinforce DOD efforts, he added.
“By strengthening our whole-of-government approach against the Haqqanis,” Little said “we are supporting our campaign efforts in Afghanistan and further limiting the organization's capacity to destabilize the region."