The Obama administration has blacklisted the Haqqani network, designating it a foreign terrorist organization. CFR’s senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, Daniel Markey, highlights three things to know about the decision:
- A Bureaucratic Move: The designation is largely "a bureaucratic, internal, U.S. government maneuver," Markey says. It simply formalizes the ongoing U.S. efforts to go after the Haqqani network. "The United States has already been going after the Haqqani network in a variety of different ways, including drone strikes, attacking some of their financial networks, designating specific members of the Haqqanis as terrorists," he says.
- Pakistani-U.S. Tensions Could Rise: The U.S. decision is likely to upset many in Pakistan, particularly the military and powerful intelligence service, who are believed to have ties with the Haqqanis, Markey says. This also raises concerns in Islamabad over the possibility of eventually designating the Pakistani government as a state sponsor of terrorism and the prospect of including the Haqqanis in Afghan reconciliation talks, he says.
- Sends a Clear Policy Message: This decision provides much-needed clarity, Markey says, both within the U.S. government and to the Pakistanis. "The United States needs to make it clear to Pakistan that it needs to make a choice. If it continues to work with groups like the Haqqanis, continues to treat them as legitimate insurgent groups rather than international terrorists, there will continue to be a problem - a deep problem - with the U.S.," Markey says.