ISW Backgrounder Assesses the Role of FTO Designation in Fight Against Haqqani Network

 WASHINGTON, DC – The Institute for the Study of War today published a detailed backgrounder titled, " The Haqqani Network: a Foreign Terrorist Organization," outlining the impact of possible Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation on the Haqqani Network.  The Secretary of State’s decision about FTO designation is expected to be announced by September 10.   The author of the backgrounder, ISW Senior Analyst Jeffrey Dressler, argues the need for FTO designation to undercut the network’s financial resources. 

Dressler argues that financial capacity is a critical capability of the Haqqani Network, a fact that distinguishes it from other insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan. “The Haqqani Network business enterprise, comprised of licit as well as illicit elements, extends beyond the region and into the Persian Gulf…. The Haqqanis also maintain an international fundraising network which serves to resource their tactical and operational activities.  According to the United Nations, Haqqani Network operatives maintain links to the Gulf states, South and East Asia, and possibly as far as South America.”

FTO designation would effectively prohibit U.S. business dealings with companies affiliated with the network.  Further, it would increase the network’s cost of doing business, reduce its access to capital, and constrain the network’s financial resources, thereby limiting their freedom to operate in a local, regional, and international context.

Dressler summarizes by saying that “whether or not the Haqqanis will provide for a large scale reconstitution of al-Qaeda and their affiliates remains to be seen, but the network’s past activities and current support for and protection of these groups in Pakistan demand that the Haqqani Network be treated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.”

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