WASHINGTON — A senior US senator urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday to blacklist Pakistan's Taliban and the Haqqani network fighting US forces in Afghanistan as foreign terrorist organizations.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, wrote to Clinton that the label can be affixed to groups that are foreign, engage in terrorism, and that their acts threaten US citizens and national security.
"I believe the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani Network clearly meet all three criteria," said Feinstein.
Listing the groups as foreign terrorist organizations would empower US authorities to target their financing, forbid non-US nationals with ties to the groups from entering the United States or expel them if they are already here, and make providing material support to them a crime, she said.
The Haqqani network's leadership is based in Pakistan, and has a decentralised cell structure, close ties with foreign militant groups including Al-Qaeda and a long history in Afghanistan.
The US State Department said Tuesday it was considering adding Pakistan's Taliban to the list after the group was implicated in the failed Times Square bombing.
The administration has hesitated in part out of consideration for relations with Pakistan, where anti-Americanism runs rife and whose government is keen to be seen as fighting the Taliban on its own terms.
The United States blacklists a range of prominent foreign movements as terrorist groups, including Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was accused of masterminding the bloody 2008 siege of Mumbai.
Other US-designated terrorist groups include the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah, the Real Irish Republican Army and Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers.
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