Hillary Clinton Declares Haqqani Network a Terrorist Group, and Pakistan Media Begins a Smear Campaign

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared the Haqqani network in Afghanistan a terrorist organization. The Haqqanis operate from their bases in the tribal regions of North Waziristan and are active inside Afghanistan. The U.S. believes that the Haqqanis have strong links with the Pakistani spy agencies, and are the most serious threat to peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Responding to this news, some members of the Pakistani media, including some defense analysts, launched yet another campaign of biased information, glorifying the Haqqanis and calling the ban a threat to the peace process in Afghanistan.

A commander of the network called the U.S. and other allies “cheaters,” alleging that real peace is not their primary goal.

Afghan government Interior ministry spokesperson Seddiq Seddiqi said in an interview with Reuters, "The ban of the Haqqani network is a major step by the United States that will help to contain this outfit that is still plotting destructive attacks against us.”

“The Haqqani network is not only a threat to Afghanistan. In Pakistan, they are involved in kidnapping for ransom to generate resources for their operations,” says security analyst Babrak Khattak.

Jahangir Shah, an economics professor from Pakistan, shared his view, “Blacklisting the Haqqani network will weaken the financial roots of the militants on both sides of the border, and push them to peace talks.” She added, “Even though they have a well-organized and strong financial network spread across Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Gulf countries, they won’t be able to perform as they did in the past.”

On the other hand, Abdullah Khan, a tribal elder from Balochistan, Pakistan, said, “The US should not have blacklisted the Haqqani network. The coalition withdrawal in 2014 demands the inclusion of all stakeholders of Afghanistan to be part of the peace process. Without the Haqqani network, dreaming of peace may be a waste of time.”

The close ties of the Haqqani network with elements of Pakistani spy agencies are no secret; they are thought to be the most influential group of Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan operating with the objective to force NATO and ISAF forces to withdraw from Afghanistan before the date mentioned as 2014. They assume that the post-withdrawal scenario will leave the infant Afghan Army unable to defend Afghanistan and dream of capturing Kabul again to return to the Taliban era. This move will certainly affect the ongoing dialogue between CIA and ISI chiefs, as the Pakistani Army establishment considers the U.S. as a threat, rather than ally of Islamabad.

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