US Debates Naming Haqqani Network a Terror Group

Risks may outweigh benefits, as congressional deadline looms
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2012 5:36 PM CDT
In this 1998 file photo, Jalaluddin Haqqani, then the Taliban Army Supreme Commander, talks to reporters in Miram Shah, Waziristan, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Mohammad Riaz, File)
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(Newser) – Hillary Clinton has a big decision to make by Sept. 9: whether to formally designate the Haqqani Network in Pakistan a terrorist organization. It might seem like a no-brainer considering the network is blamed for most of the anti-US attacks in Afghanistan, but the Washington Post and the New York Times say administration officials fear it could wind up being a largely symbolic move that would do nothing but foul up fragile US-Pakistan relations just as they're showing signs of improvement.

The Post has Clinton still "undecided," while the Times has her undecided but leaning in favor of the designation. The latter would please military officials, who think it would help in the fight against the network. Other US officials say it might jeopardize hopes of getting the Taliban back to peace talks as well as the prospects of freeing captive American soldier Bowe Bergdahl. (Read more Hillary Clinton stories.)

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