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Haqqanis significant threat to US national security: Pentagon

Washington, Sep 8, 2012 (PTI) 11:59 IST
In this Aug. 22, 1998, file photo, Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the militant group the Haqqani network, speaks during an interview in Miram Shah, Pakistan. The Obama administration faces a weekend deadline to decide whether the Pakistan-based Haqqani network should be declared a terrorist organization, a complicated political decision as the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan and pushes for a reconciliation pact to end more than a decade of warfare. (AP Photo/Mohammed Riaz, File)
The Haqqani network represents a significant threat to the US national security, the Pentagon said, as it welcomed the decision of the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to designate the Pakistan-based outfit as a global terrorist organisation.

"We welcome Secretary Clinton's announcement that the Haqqani Network meets the statutory criteria for designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO), and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity," Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little, said.

Noting that the Haqqani Network represents a "significant threat to US national security", Little said the US will continue its aggressive military action against this threat.

"These new group designations will build on our efforts 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," he said.

"We will continue these efforts, reinforced by today's new designations. By strengthening our whole-of-government approach against the Haqqanis, we are supporting our campaign efforts in Afghanistan and further limiting the organisation's capacity to destabilise the region," Little said.

The Pentagon statement came after Clinton formally designated the militant network as terrorist organisation in a report to the Congress yesterday. "This is no secret that for some time this has been something under review. Squeezing the Haqqani Network is something that we've thought is very important, that we set as a priority for us.

"We had done that through some previous designations," the State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, told reporters at his daily news conference.

"The Secretary said that she would fully review the matter and comply with the law and the legislation to see whether it met the designation, and her finding is that indeed it does.

"These are decisions that take careful review and are complex and require a very detailed review, but that was the decision," he said. "The point of this designation is to degrade the ability of the Haqqanis to conduct violent acts. So they've carried out lethal and complex attacks against American personnel and American facilities.

"So the point of this is to degrade their ability to conduct these kinds of violent acts," Ventrell said.

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