Will US terrorist label for Haqqani network push Pakistan into a corner?
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed documents on Friday declaring the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organization a potential blow to US-Pakistan relations according to Pakistani analysts.
The Haqqani network has long been a source of contention between the two countries. The US sees the group as a threat to NATO forces across the border, and a threat to Afghanistan's long-term stability as the US plans to withdraw next year. The network has been blamed for high-profile attacks, including one on the US Embassy in Kabul and the 2008 kidnapping of New York Times reporter David Rohde.
Though Pakistan denies having close ties with the group, it has repeatedly dodged US pressure to carry out operations against the group. Analysts say that the Pakistani security establishment sees the Haqqani network as a key ally after US forces withdraw in 2014. The result is that the two countries have two fundamentally different perceptions of security policy in the region perceptions that frequently put them at loggerheads.
The decision narrows the terms on which the US wants to engage with Pakistan by clearly stating that Pakistan will have to move against the Haqqani network, says political analyst Ayesha Siddiqa. It indicates a perception gap between the US and the Pakistani security establishment. Pakistan wants to keep its eggs in many baskets to ensure that their interests are safeguarded. The US wants it to have one clear policy that happens to agree with the American one. The problem is that Pakistan might not be able to deliver, she says.