Pakistan bans Haqqani network in move against militants

Pakistan bans group known for attacks against foreign forces in Afghanistan

Pakistan bans group known for attacks against foreign forces in Afghanistan

KARACHI, Pakistan - Squeezed by mounting U.S. pressure, Pakistan has banned the influential Haqqani militant network, a group responsible for numerous attacks on foreign forces in neighboring Afghanistan, officials confirmed Thursday.

Islamabad has also frozen the funds of Jamat-ud-Dawah, a charity with alleged links to militants, and proscribed by the UN. It is not clear whether the charity, accused of involvement in a deadly siege in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, has been banned by Pakistan.

During a weekly briefing Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam focused on the freezing of Jamat-ud-Dawah's funds rather than the Haqqani network but she confirmed that more groups had been added to the country’s list of banned outfits.

"Being a member of the United Nations, Pakistan is bound to take action against JuD and other groups which are in the UN list of terrorist organizations," said Aslam, using an abbreviation for the charity.

She rejected any link between Islamabad’s latest moves and the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The U.S. listed Jamat-ud-Dawah as a terrorist organization last year and has also pressured Pakistan into reluctantly fighting the Haqqani network. 

"This is our own decision. It has nothing to do with Mr Kerry’s visit," said Aslam.

An Interior Ministry official confirmed to The Anadolu Agency, on condition of anonymity, that the Haqqani network and other groups had been included in the list of banned militants.

The move is seen to be part of the government’s shift in policy to target all Taliban groups, not just those operating in Pakistan.

Other groups included in the list are: Harkat-Ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-Ul-Jihad al-Islami, Al-Akhtar Trust, Al-Rasheed Trust and Ummah Tamer-e-Nuo.

Pakistan had long resisted a ban on the Haqqani network, which does not conduct operations in Pakistan and was considered useful to Pakistani interests in Afghanistan. 

After a Taliban attack that killed more than 100 students at a school in the city of Peshawar in December, the government announced that it would no longer differentiate between “bad Taliban and good Taliban" and would treat all groups as terrorists.

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