Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the United States would formally recognize the militant Haqqani network operating in Afghanistan as a terrorist organization, a report to Congress said Friday.

The decision was a matter of debate for nearly two years. Some within the military and State Department argued the designation would frustrate the group’s fundraising efforts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates while pressuring Pakistan to engage Haqqani as enemy combatants. Others, including officials in the White House, warned that blacklisting the group could stress already tense relations with Pakistan, undermine peace talks with the Taliban and jeopardize the life of an American soldier held by the militants.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The New York Times:

But in the past few days, supporters of designating the group apparently eased most concerns or put forward contingencies to mitigate the risks and potential consequences.

“This shows that we are using everything we can to put the squeeze on these guys,” said one administration official who was involved in the process, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity on Thursday because the decision had not yet been formally announced.

Another senior administration official said the designation “is a very strong signal of our resolve to combat the Haqqanis.”

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