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U.S.' move to blacklist Haqqanis could nix Afghan war settlement: Experts

Washington, Thu, 13 Sep 2012 ANI

Washington, Sept. 13 (ANI): Two Western experts on Afghanistan have denounced the U.S. decision to blacklist the Al-Qaeda linked Haqqani network, saying the move "gravely threatens the prospects for a political settlement" of the decade-long Afghan war.

In an opinion piece published in the New York Times, Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, the Kandahar-based field researchers, emphasised that a political settlement was the only way out of the Afghan conflict, starting with "some form of cease-fire", reports The Nation.

Linschoten and Kuehnn are the authors of the book, "Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban/Al-Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, 1970-2010".

They said that in recent years the Haqqanis and people close to them have made contact with Afghan, American and other Western officials.

"Listing the Haqqanis as an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organisation) now will deter them from coming to the negotiating table," the duo said.

"The designation of the Haqqanis as an FTO will only erode America's relationship with Pakistan and decrease the likelihood of Pakistan's playing a constructive role in facilitating (or not spoiling) any reconciliation process," the experts wrote.

They said the FTO listing doesn't matter much for the Haqqanis' operations - there can be no winner in the current stalemate.

"Most of the senior Haqqani commanders and family members are already on international blacklists. They are involved in the Afghan conflict to secure for themselves a future political role. Only a political process that engages them, rather than systematically sidelining them, will help end the war. One possible starting point for such a process would be some form of cease-fire," they further wrote. (ANI)


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