The Treasury Department said that Saidullah Jan, Yahya Haqqani and
Muhammad Omar Zadran had been named "specially designated global
terrorists," meaning that assets belonging to the men within U.S.
jurisdiction would be frozen.
U.S. citizens are also barred from doing business with the three
The Obama administration has been struggling to contain the Haqqani
network, which it blamed for involvement in a number of bold,
high-profile attacks on U.S. and Western interests in Afghanistan,
The group is believed to be based in tribal regions of Pakistan,
near the border with Afghanistan.
"Today's action underscores our resolve to continue targeting any
potential means of support for the Haqqanis," David Cohen, a senior
Treasury official, said in the statement.
Muhammad Omar Zadran was also named for having links to the Afghan
In 2011, the United States' former top military official, Mike
Mullen, made waves by calling the group a "veritable arm" of
Pakistan's powerful intelligence service, ISI. In September 2012,
the State Department officially designated the group as a "foreign
Some in Congress have pushed the administration in recent months to
go after the network more aggressively. In November, six members of
Congress, including Mike Rogers, chairman of the House intelligence
committee, and Ed Royce, chairman of the House foreign affairs
committee, sent Obama a letter asking him to document U.S. steps
against the group and calling efforts to date "woefully
"We know the Haqqani network continues to plan potentially
catastrophic attacks against U.S. interests and personnel in
Afghanistan," the lawmakers said in the letter, a copy of which was
obtained by Reuters.
Since then, Obama administration officials have briefed Congress on
the issue, but some lawmakers appear to remain dissatisfied. In
December, as part of an annual defense spending bill, lawmakers
required the administration to report back on its efforts to disrupt
the Haqqani group.
Some U.S. officials have been reluctant to take steps against the
Haqqani network that might jeopardize the administration's ability
to initiate peace talks between the Afghan government and its
[to top of second column]
The decision to freeze suspected Haqqani militants' assets came as
the Obama administration moves to wind down its 12-year-long war in
This week, President Barack Obama met with senior military
commanders to discuss the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
Officials have planned to keep a modest U.S. force there after this
year, if the Afghan government will agree to sign a bilateral
security deal that authorizes a foreign military presence after
Lawmakers also expressed concerns on Wednesday about how well
Afghanistan would be able to combat a thriving drug trade as foreign
troops withdraw. Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, the world's
largest producer of the crop used to make heroin and opium, hit an
all-time high last year.
"All of our counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan to this point
have relied heavily on a robust U.S. military presence," Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee,
said during a House hearing.
William Brownfield, a senior State Department official, said there
had been "encouraging progress" in the ability of Afghanistan's
fragile government to fight the drug trade, but added there was "no
silver bullet" for dealing with the issue.
(Editing by Leslie Adler, Amanda Kwan and Andre Grenon)
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