UN imposes sanctions on Haqqani network | Pakistan Today

UN imposes sanctions on Haqqani network

The UN committee that oversees sanctions against the Taliban imposed global sanctions Monday on the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, a fierce militant group considered a major threat to US and allied forces in Afghanistan, and its “chief of suicide operations”.
The Taliban sanctions committee ordered all 193 UN member states to freeze the assets and institute an arms embargo against the Haqqani network, saying the group is linked to al Qaeda and other militant organisations and is responsible for suicide attacks and targeted assassination as well as kidnappings in Kabul and Afghan provinces.
The committee also ordered an asset freeze, arms embargo and travel ban against Afghan-born Abdul Rauf Zakir, also known as Qari Zakir, who it said oversees training of suicide attackers and provides instructions on how to construct improvised explosive devices.
The Security Council committee described him as “chief of suicide operations for the Haqqani Network” under its leader, Sirajuddin Jallaloudine Haqqani, “and in charge of all operations in Kabul, Takhar, Kunduz and Baghlan provinces.” The United States earlier Monday also imposed financial sanctions against Zakir and labeled him a global terrorist.
The decision to impose sanctions required approval by all 15 Security Council members, including Pakistan, and diplomats said its agreement was considered very significant since the Haqqani Network is based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region. US Ambassador Susan Rice welcomed the Taliban sanctions committee’s announcement of sanctions against the network and Zakir.
Meanwhile in Kabul, Afghanistan welcomed the United Nations’ decision to impose sanctions on the Haqqani network and said it would not negotiate for peace with the group blamed for several high-profile attacks in the country.
Aimal Faizi, President Hamid Karzai’s chief spokesman, said Kabul backed the UN decision, but added it should have been made a long time ago to weaken the Haqqanis.
Although the Afghan government is engaged in reconciliation talks with members of the Taliban, it rules out dialogue with the Haqqani group, believed to be based in the unruly border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. “We don’t want any kind of deal with the Haqqanis, who were behind many of the attacks on Afghan security forces and civilians including women and children,” Faizi told Reuters. “We have certain negotiating conditions with armed opposition groups but the Haqqanis do not meet the criteria and they are in the service of a foreign spy agency.”
Pakistan already cracking down on Haqqani network: govt
Pakistan is already cracking down on the Haqqani network and does not need to impose extra measures following the group’s addition to the UN’s blacklist, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.
“The three elements of the ban — arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban — are all already in place in Pakistan,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said. The United States designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist organisation in September, a move the group’s commanders said proved Washington was not sincere about peace efforts in Afghanistan.
“Which banned militant can openly travel in Pakistan? We have also checked on financing and other transfers. There is no problem,” Kaira said. Gretchen Peters, who wrote a report on Haqqani finances for the Combating Terrorism Center, said Pakistan could shut down the Haqqanis if it wanted.
“That’s patently not true” that they have already cracked down, she said.
Seized receipts and other documents showed Haqqani leaders owned property, construction, trading and transport firms and bought weapons and ammunition inside Pakistan, she said. A small team of financial investigators with strong political backing could severely damage the network, she said, citing US successes in tackling South American drug cartels and seizing assets of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. So far, it is unclear how well the sanctions will be enforced. Peters’ report found that most of the Haqqani assets were in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. “A sanction is like an arrest warrant. It only means something if countries act on it,” she said.

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