Senator Burr Introduces Bill Aimed at Designating Haqqani Network as Terrorist Organization

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act, a bill requiring a report from the Secretary of State regarding the designation of the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization. Although they have been behind numerous attacks on civilians and U.S. and coalition forces, the Haqqani Network is not currently designated as a terrorist organization.

"The Haqqanis are a violent extremist group who have perpetrated deadly attacks on U.S. forces and innocent Afghan civilians, used murder as an intimidation tactic against the Afghan people, and employed suicide attacks with deadly effectiveness," Senator Burr said. "Their size, resources, experience, and well organized execution of attacks makes them an extremely dangerous group, and they deserve to be classified as a terrorist organization. This designation would allow us to more aggressively pursue them as well as limit the ability of foreign governments to provide them with aid and assistance."

A recent report released by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) identified the Haqqani Network as one of the most dangerous groups of insurgents battling U.S. forces in Afghanistan and highlighted recent highly-visible, destructive attacks on civilians, including children, U.S. military installations, and the U.S. embassy in Kabul. Since 2008, six top officials within the network, including the group's overall leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, have been classified as terrorists, but that designation does not currently extend to the group as a whole despite their role in terrorist activity and attacks. The Haqqani Network is the most lethal component of the Taliban and has collaborative relations with Al-Qa'ida. It is also reported that the Haqqani Network benefits from a close relationship with Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence Agency.

By designating a group as a terrorist organization, the United States is able to more effectively limit their financial, property, and travel interests. The designation not only stigmatizes the group within the international community, but also deters financial support, increases public awareness of the group and their activities, and conveys America's concern about the named organization to foreign governments.

This bill would require the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress on whether the Haqqani Network meets the criteria for designation as a terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. If the Secretary of State determines that they should not be classified as a terrorist network, this bill requires a detailed justification as to what criteria has not been met.

Cosponsors of the Haqqani Terrorist Designation Act include Feinstein (D-CA), Chambliss (R-GA), Coats (R-IN), Blunt (R-MO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Warner (D-VA), Inhofe (R-OK), Graham (R-SC), Corker (R-TN), and Kirk (R-IL).