Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) today introduced legislation requiring the State Department to designate the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
An FTO designation makes it illegal to provide material support or resources to the Haqqani Network, an organization responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S., Afghan and coalition service members in Afghanistan and countless civilians.
“You cannot negotiate with terrorists, and in my view that’s exactly what the Haqqani Network is,” said Senator Feinstein, who traveled with Senator Chambliss to Afghanistan in May for meetings with President Hamid Karzai, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General John Allen. “I have urged the State Department to designate Haqqani as an FTO for more than two years. Meanwhile, the organization continues to kill Americans in Afghanistan and launch brazen and indiscriminate attacks against innocent men, women and children in the region.”
“The Haqqani Network is the prime example of a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and the administration’s failure to designate it as such is indefensible,” said Senator Chambliss. “The Haqqanis have conducted numerous attacks against our military personnel, assaulted our embassy in Kabul and continue to pose a grave threat to the security and interests of the United States. It is well past time to designate this network as a terrorist group.”
The Haqqani Network meets the following criteria for FTO designation specified in Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act:
(1) The organization is foreign;
(2) The organization engages in terrorist activity; and
(3) The terrorist activity threatens the security of United States citizens or the national security of the United States.
U.S. officials have attributed three of the largest, most brazen attacks in Afghanistan to the Haqqani Network, including:
- The June 28, 2011, assault on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul killed at least 20 individuals. Suicide attackers stormed the hotel, setting off explosions and exchanging gunfire with Afghan authorities for hours until NATO helicopters killed the remaining gunmen.
- The September 10, 2011, truck bombing in Wardak province killed five Afghans and injuring 77 U.S. troops. The powerful bomb exploded just outside the gates of Combat Outpost Sayed Abad and reportedly killed a policeman and four civilians, including a 3-year-old girl.
- The September 13, 2011, siege on the U.S. Embassy and NATO compound involved insurgents firing rockets and attacking police in several areas of Kabul, killing at least nine people and wounding 23 in the coordinated attacks.
The Haqqani Network is responsible for multiple attacks in 2012 in Kabul, and was likely responsible for IED attacks last Sunday that that killed six U.S. service members.
In a May letter, Senators Feinstein and Chambliss wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to “immediately designate” the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
The Senate legislation is cosponsored by Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.).