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US designates Haqqani network a terrorist group

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton formally designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist group.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to formally designate the Pakistan-based Haqqani network as a terror group. (Feng Li/AFP/Getty Images)

The Obama administration has formally designated the Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist organization, US officials announced on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a report to Congress on Friday morning, stating that the Pakistan-based group "meets the statutory criteria for designation as a foreign terrorist organization," said the AP.

The report comes two days before a Congressional deadline, which was put in place after the group claimed responsibility for some of the deadliest attacks on American troops in Afghanistan, according to The New York Times.

The Times said Clinton and other officials have already conferred with their Pakistani counterparts and Marc Grossman, the Obama administration's special envoy, will formally inform Pakistan's leaders on Friday.

The US has accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of aiding the Haqqani network and using it as a proxy in Afghanistan, said Reuters. Pakistan denies the allegations.

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State Department and military officials argued for the designation, saying it would help curtail the group's fund-raising in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and put more pressure on Pakistan to take action against the network. However, other senior officials feared the designation would damage already frayed ties with Pakistan, which have only recently begun to improve.

Jeffrey Dressler, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, said, "FTO designation could reduce a critical capability of the Haqqani Network by increasing the cost of doing business, reducing access to capital, and constraining the network's financial resources, thereby limiting their freedom to operate in a local, regional, and international context," according to CNN.

Several leaders in the Haqqani network already have sanctions placed on them, the AP noted. The Al Qaeda-linked group is a subsidiary of the Taliban, based in northern Pakistan, from where it launches attacks across the border.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/120907/us-designate-haqqani-network-terror-group