Afghanistan rules out peace deals with Haqqanis

Updated 07 November 2012
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Afghanistan rules out peace deals with Haqqanis

KABUL: 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 yesterday.
On Monday the UN Security Council’s Taleban sanctions committee added the Haqqani network to a UN blacklist, the United States said.
Aimal Faizi, President Hamid Karzai’s chief spokesman, said Kabul backed the UN decision, but added it should have been made a long time ago to weaken the Haqqanis, a Pashtun tribe allied to the Afghan Taleban, 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 Taleban, 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 said.
“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 US 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 organization 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 Taleban 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.


More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

Updated 34 min 1 sec ago
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More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

  • Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing
  • The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron

PARIS: More than 70 countries committed Thursday to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions “even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.”
The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long-term.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani were all present.
Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the United States, is expected to close the conference later with a call for the necessity for multilateral action.
Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words will be put into action.
“When we have information — for example the UN list of individuals and entities financing terrorism — we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly,” Lewis told The Associated Press.
Participants called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations.
Participants included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Arabian Gulf.
France has pushed for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it has recognized how sensitive the issue is, and saw the conference as a first step for coordinated action.
The French organizers noted that Daesh military defeats on the ground have not prevented the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with Al-Qaeda — especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.
Terror groups don’t only rely on the cash economy — they’re using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations.
Daesh has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. Daesh revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president’s office.
Though most of the attacks in Western countries do not cost a lot of money, a French official said terror groups “behave like big organizations” in that it “costs a lot to recruit, train, equip people and spread propaganda.” The official was speaking anonymously under the presidency’s customary practice.
The French counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins told FranceInfo radio that Daesh uses micro-financing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money.
Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to Daesh over the last two years, he said.
Money, he said, went to “320 collectors mostly based in Turkey and Lebanon from whom jihadis in Iraq and Syria could receive funds.”
In recent years, the US and other Western nations have encouraged Middle Eastern nations to close off such sources.
However, allegations over extremist funding in part sparked a near-yearlong boycott of Qatar by four Arab states.
Qatar denies funding extremists, though it has faced Western criticism about being lax in enforcing rules.
Participants agreed to hold a similar conference next year in Australia.