US Blacklists Haqqani Network
Step could be a blow to relations with Pakistan, Taliban
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2012 9:24 AM CDT
In this Sunday Aug. 5, 2012 file photo, a Pakistani Taliban militant holds a rocket-propelled grenade at the Taliban stronghold of Shawal, in Waziristan, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/ Ishtiaq Mahsud, File)

(Newser) – The Obama administration intends to slap the Haqqani network onto its terrorism blacklist, in a risky bid to strangle the group's fundraising. The idea has been hotly debated in the administration, with many arguing that it could harm relations with Pakistan, undercut Taliban peace talks, and endanger the life of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who is being held captive by the Haqqanis. But in recent days, State Department and Pentagon officials have effectively argued that it's worth the risk to pressure the militants, officials tell the New York Times.

"This shows that we are using everything we can to put the squeeze on these guys," one official explained; another called it "a very strong signal of our resolve to combat the Haqqanis." Congress passed a law almost unanimously on Aug. 10 giving Hillary Clinton 30 days to decide whether the network should be on the list. The designation could truly hurt them, one analyst says, explaining that the Haqqanis have seemingly legitimate business interests like car dealerships and construction companies throughout the region.