KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan welcomes the United Nations’ decision to impose sanctions on the Haqqani network and would not negotiate for peace with the group blamed for several high-profile attacks in the country, the presidential spokesman said on Tuesday.
On Monday the U.N. Security Council’s Taliban sanctions committee added the Haqqani network to a U.N. blacklist, the United States said.
Aimal Faizi, President Hamid Karzai’s chief spokesman, said Kabul backed the U.N. decision, but added it should have been made a long time ago to weaken the Haqqanis, a Pashtun tribe allied to the Afghan Taliban, who he said had carried out most of the terrorist attacks in the nation over the past 10 years.
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.”
Afghan and U.S. officials have accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of using Haqqani militants as proxies in Afghanistan to counter the influence of rival India. Islamabad denies the allegations.
The United States designated the Haqqani network a terrorist organisation in September, a move the group’s commanders said proved Washington was not sincere about peace efforts in Afghanistan.
Isolating the Haqqanis, who were blamed for the 18-hour attack on embassies and parliament in Kabul in April, could complicate efforts to secure peace in Afghanistan as most NATO combat troops prepare to leave by the end of 2014.
The Haqqanis say they are intricately tied to the Afghan Taliban and both groups insist they must act in unison in any peace process.
Most of the Haqqani leaders have already been blacklisted individually.
A report in July by the Center for Combating Terrorism said the Haqqanis run a sophisticated financial network, raising money through kidnapping, extortion and drug trafficking but also having a legitimate business portfolio that includes import/export, transport, real estate and construction interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Gulf.
(This version of the story adds sourcing in final paragraph.)
Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Greg Mahlich