US Congress approves bill delinking Haqqani Network from LeT

ANI | Updated: Nov 18, 2017 12:40 IST

Washington [United States], Nov.18 (ANI): The United States Congress has passed a bill that requires Pakistan to work with its security forces and the Afghanistan Army to delink the Haqqani (terror) Network from the Lashkar-e-Taiba out (LeT).

The National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018, which was approved by a voice vote by the House of Representatives and the US Senate on Thursday evening provides about USD 700 billion for US defence needs in 2018.

The NDA 2018 also provides USD 700 million for reimbursing Pakistan for monitoring the Pak-Afghan border, but withholds half of the amount.

It also prevents the administration from issuing a waiver for USD 350 million unless the US Secretary of Defense certifies to the congressional defence committees that: "Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe havens, fundraising and recruiting efforts, and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan."

"Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any Pakistan territory as a safe haven and for fundraising and recruiting efforts. The government of Pakistan is making an attempt to actively coordinate with the government of Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants, such as the Haqqani Network, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Pakistan has shown progress in arresting and prosecuting senior leaders and mid-level operatives of the Haqqani Network."

Previous versions of the bill required the secretary to issue a similar certificate for LeT but its name was dropped from the later version, known as the conference.

Delinking LeT from the Haqqani Network reflects Washington's desire to keep its focus on Afghanistan and encourage Pakistan to cooperate. Policy makers in Washington feel that linking an India-specific group like LeT with the Haqqani Network could discourage Pakistan from cooperating with the US in the war in Afghanistan.

On Friday, the bill was sent to President Donald Trump for signing it into a law. (ANI)