The Obama administration has decided to blacklist as a terrorist organization the Haqqani network, the militant organization responsible for some of the deadliest attacks against American troops in Afghanistan, several American officials said late Thursday.
The decision, which is expected to be announced as early as Friday, culminates nearly two years of spirited debate inside the administration that reached a peak in the past month under the pressure of a Congressional reporting deadline this Sunday.
Several State Department and military officials argued that designating the organization would help strangle the groupís fund-raising activities in countries like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and pressure Pakistan to open a long-expected military offensive against the militants.
Many other senior officials, including several in the White House, expressed deep reservations that blacklisting the group could further damage badly frayed relations with Pakistan, undercut peace talks with the Taliban and possibly jeopardize the fate of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier known to be held by the militants.
WASHINGTON (AP) ó 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.
Enraged by a string of high-profile attacks on U.S. and NATO troops, Congress has ordered Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to give her verdict by Sunday. U.S. officials say there are disagreements within the administration over what to decide.
The U.S. already has placed sanctions on many Haqqani leaders and is targeting its members militarily but has held back from formally designating the al-Qaida-linked network a terrorist group amid concerns about hampering peace efforts in Afghanistan and U.S. relations with Pakistan.
Clinton, who is winding up a six-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific, was expected to send her report on the Haqqanis to Congress on Friday and announce her decision.