Sen. Burr: US Needs Greater Power to Fight Pakistani Militant Group

Tuesday, 31 Jul 2012 02:50 PM

By Henry J. Reske and John Bachman

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Officially designating the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization will give the United States greater power to fight the Pakistani-based militant organization, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., tells Newsmax.TV.

Burr, a member of the Armed Services Committee, sponsored such a measure that has now passed both the House and Senate and is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk.

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“When we declare a group, an individual terrorist, it enables us to do so much more,” he said. “It enables us to close down the financial pathways to that organization. It means that we’ve got a much more robust capability to defeat the terrorists.

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“The Haqqani Network is a network that clearly, by every definition, is terrorist. They are the ones that have carried out two operations in Kabul, but more importantly they’re an organization that, day in and day out, tries to kill our troops in Afghanistan. I don’t believe anything raises to the threshold of terrorism more than that. And it’s my hope that the president will be quick at signing this bill.”

Should the president sign the measure, Burr said it would require the Secretary of State to either list them as a terrorist group or to send a detailed report as to why they don’t meet that threshold to Congress.

“So we’re not legislating that the Haqqani Network is a terrorist group,” he said. “We are legislating that if they’re not, please give us the full explanation as to why they don’t meet that threshold.”

Burr calls the group the “most formidable enemy we have in Afghanistan today.”

“And the fact is that, in many cases, the Pakistani government doesn’t do anything to help us with their home base in Miranshah,” he said. “It means that not only can they operate from there with tremendous freedom, it means that in that area, they have the capabilities of manufacturing of IEDs. They have the capabilities of training terrorists to come across the border. Their proximity to the border means that it’s almost seamless to come inside and then go back outside where we can’t chase them with troops. So they are a danger to any of the operation and the forward operating bases that we have along the Pakistani border with Afghanistan.”

Burr acknowledges that naming the Haqqani Network as a terrorist group will not help U.S. relations with Pakistan, but added that until something is done about the network it will not be possible to stabilize the region so U.S. troops can leave Afghanistan.

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