Haqqani ban still under consideration: Pakistan's U.S. envoy

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 03, 2015 2:49 PM

By David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A formal announcement on outlawing the Haqqani militant network, which has been responsible for numerous attacks on U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, it still under consideration, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday.

Pakistani officials said in January that Islamabad had decided to outlaw the militant group and that a formal announcement would come "within weeks".

"These are the kind of issues that are in the works, I would say," Jalil Abbas Jilani said at a Washington media roundtable organized by the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, when asked when a formal announcement would be made.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Pakistan in January to fight groups that threaten Afghan, Indian and U.S. interests.

U.S. officials have blamed high-profile attacks in Afghanistan on the Haqqani network, which mainly operates from Pakistan's border areas, and say it has ties to the Pakistani state.

Jilani referred to remarks in November by U.S. Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, then commander of international forces in Afghanistan, that Pakistani military action in the North Waziristan region had "very much" disrupted the group's efforts.

Jilani said the operations had succeeded in clearing almost 90 percent of North Waziristan of militants and Pakistan was confident of clearing the remaining area.

Jilani's comments come after the head of Afghanistan's power-sharing government last week backed a tentative push to begin peace talks with Taliban insurgents and said the effort would "begin in coming days."

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Alan Crosby)