Mark Udall welcomed news today that the Obama administration will formally designate the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization. Such a designation would freeze any Haqqani Network assets in U.S. banks, make it illegal to provide the Haqqani Network with any financial or material support, and bar Haqqani Network members from traveling to the United States.
"I thank the administration for making this critical decision. It's simply the right thing to do and will protect our national security going forward," Udall said. "As I said earlier, let's call a spade a spade: This is a terrorist group that is impeding our efforts in Afghanistan and - most importantly - is targeting U.S. troops. We need to use every tool available to cut off resources to this organization, which is what the administration's action today is designed to accomplish."
In July, Udall hailed the passage of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate requiring the State Department to report to Congress on whether the Haqqani Network meets the criteria to be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), a bill Udall co-sponsored in 2011. The State Department's announcement today comes just prior to the deadline set by this legislation for the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress on the issue. Earlier in July, Udall, who serves on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Senate Armed Services Committee, became an original co-sponsor of separate bipartisan legislation to designate the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
In 2011, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen publicly connected the Haqqani Network with a series of attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, including a June 2011 attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a September 2011 truck bombing in Wardak Province that killed 77 U.S. troops. Although the administration previously placed sanctions on Haqqani Network individuals, this decision concerns designation of the entire organization.