The U.S. decision to blacklist the Haqqani Network may increase tensions with Pakistan, where the militant group has bases, substantial economic activities and ties to the country’s intelligence services.
The Obama administration is likely to tell Congress that the Haqqani network meets the criteria for being declared a foreign terrorist group, three U.S. government officials said, stopping short of saying such a designation would be made immediately.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers are urging U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to designate a militant group behind attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan as a “foreign terrorist organization,” an action which might further strain U.S. relations with Pakistan.
The Obama administration is in the final stages of a “formal review” on whether to declare the Pakistan-based Haqqani group a “foreign terrorist organization,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
– The political pressure on President Barack Obama to speed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has grown since the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and is complicating his second goal in the region: getting Pakistan to move against Taliban operations on its side of the border.
The ouster yesterday of Pakistan’s envoy to Washington marks a victory for the nation’s military and spy services in a power struggle with elected leaders that may strain U.S. relations, former U.S. officials said.
The U.S. is taking a more demanding approach to Pakistan since Osama bin Laden’s May 2 death, pressing for increased counterterrorism cooperation just as the Pakistani public and the nation’s powerful officer corps are calling for less.
Protests in Pakistan sparked by Osama bin Laden ’s killing have drawn smaller crowds than those over U.S. drone attacks, showing that the al-Qaeda leader failed to win broad support even amid widespread anti-American sentiment.