United States Secretary of Statesaid on Wednesday that she would decide on Sunday whether or not the Haqqani network is to be designated as a terrorist outfit. The Haqqani network is based in North Waziristan, which is a lawless region of Pakistan. The United States Congress has passed a bill to designate Haqqanis as terrorists and now the final verdict on it is required by the secretary of state. She is bound to give her version on the outfit within 30 days. President Barack Obama will declare the group a terrorist outfit if says that the Haqqani network meets the criteria of a terrorist network.
The United States has been pressing Pakistan to launch a full-fledged military operation against the network based in North Waziristan, as it has been found involved in some of the brazen attacks on NATO and Afghan forces. Terrorists linked to the network easily cross border into Afghanistan and return to the lawless region after attacking US-led coalition forces. The US also accuses Pakistan’s powerful military of funding and supporting the network for their vested interests. The US believes that Pakistan army deems the network as one of the strategic assets of the country and is using terrorists linked to the network as proxy against NATO forces.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-operated drones have mostly targeted militants and terrorists linked to the Haqqani network that is suspected behind attacks on the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan. The network is deeply entrenched in the area and operates training and terror camps as well. In a drone strike this week, network operational commander Badruddin Haqqani was also killed. The CIA has launched a series of drone strikes in North Waziristan to eliminate some high value targets and it appears that they have succeeded in their mission.
How Pakistan will be affected if the US declares Haqqanis as terrorists? The United States and its allies will press Pakistan more to launch a military offensive against the network, as they have been found involved in a number of cross-border terrorism acts.
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani recently denied reports of any Pakistan military operation in North Waziristan. Acting US Ambassador in Pakistan Richard Hoagland has already been trying his best to convince Pakistan’s powerful military and political parties for an operation against militants based in North Waziristan.
For the purpose, Richard Hoagland called on Pakistan Muslim League (N) Chief Mianlast week in Lahore, but the latter refused to help US for a military operation. Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan is a sovereign country and will decide what suits its interests. If Haqqanis are labeled terrorists, Pakistan army will be left with no other option but to carry out a full-scale operation against the outfit.