Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) applauded passage of his bill, the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act, in the Senate by unanimous consent. This bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week and now goes to the President's desk to await his signature.
This bill requires a report from the Secretary of State regarding the designation of the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization. It also expresses a sense of Congress that the Haqqanis meet the necessary criteria to be designated a terrorist organization. The most lethal component of the Taliban, the Haqqanis are a violent extremist group who have perpetrated deadly attacks on U.S. forces and innocent Afghan civilians. Their size, resources, experience, and well organized execution of attacks make them an extremely dangerous group and a threat to American and global security.
"The Haqqani's are violent, ruthless, indiscriminate in their killing, and, worst of all, they are well organized and well trained," Senator Burr said. "This is a group who routinely targets civilians and uses murder as an intimidation tactic against the Afghan people. They have mounted numerous armed assaults and suicide attacks on civilians and U.S. forces with deadly effectiveness, yet they have not been designated as a terrorist organization. The message from Congress is clear, and I urge the President to act now."
This bill requires the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress within 30 days on whether the Haqqani Network meets the criteria for designation as a terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. If the Secretary of State determines that they should not be classified as a terrorist network, this bill requires a detailed justification as to what criteria has not been met.
By designating a group as a terrorist organization, the United States can more actively pursue them, limit their financial, property, and travel interests, and limit the ability of foreign governments to provide them with aid. This designation not only stigmatizes the group within the international community, but also deters financial support, increases public awareness of the group and their activities, and conveys America's concern about the named organization to foreign governments.
The Haqqanis have been responsible for many high profile attacks recently including a September 10, 2011 truck bombing that injured 77 U.S. troops, a September 13, 2011 attack on the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul in which nine people were killed, and, most recently, a June 22, 2012 attack on a civilian hotel in Afghanistan that left 20 people dead.