World Bulletin/News Desk
The United States' decision to designate the Haqqani network as a terrorist organisation shows it is not sincere about peace efforts in Afghanistan, senior commanders of the group said on Friday.
The move will also bring hardship for U.S. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who is being held by the militants, the commanders told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
The United States is designating the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, accused of high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, as a terrorist organisation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday, in a move that would trigger sanctions against the group and turn up the heat on Pakistan's government.
US officials have long accused Pakistan of supporting the network, an allegation Islamabad denies.
Senior commanders from the network said the decision could endanger efforts to reach a peaceful settlement to the Afghan conflict before most NATO combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014.
"It means the United States is not sincere in their talks. They are on the one hand claiming to look for a political solution to the Afghan issue while on the other they are declaring us terrorists," said one of the commanders.
"So how can peace talks succeed in bringing peace to Afghanistan?"
The New York Times earlier reported that senior U.S. officials who argued against blacklisting the group were concerned it could jeopardise the fate of Bergdahl, who disappeared from his base in southern Afghanistan in June 2009 and is believed to be being held by the militants.
"Until now we treated him very well but this move by the United States will of course created hardships for him," another Haqqani commander told Reuters.
Rohingya claim to have been beaten, raped and left homeless after houses and mosques allegedly torched in army crackdown
Park Geun-hye offers apology after admitting receiving help from a close aide embroiled in controversy
Investigation ongoing into accident in which one raft on ride was pushed into another at Dreamworld on Gold Coast
Inmate accused of leading ISIL-linked umbrella group believed to have radicalized 21-year-old who stabbed 3 officers
Fire seriously injures 11, believed to have been caused by electrical short-circuit in Johor state
59 people killed, 117 wounded at police training college
Khmer National Liberation Front - which PM calls 'extremist group' - says new 56-member gov't based on Paris Peace Accords
Surrenders bring number of Abu Sayyaf members to hand themselves in since gov't offensive began in July to 34
4 men opened fire on workers in Central Highlands region with shotguns; 15 people also injured
Civilians killed on both sides of border as India, Pakistan renew clashes
In July, the North cut off its only remaining official channel of diplomatic communications with the United States in retaliation for American sanctions against its leader, Kim Jong-Un.
A top Maoist leader and his son were suspected to be among those killed after a shootout with police
The escapees flooded onto nearby roads, according to footage in local media, prompting officials to urge residents to stay indoors and lock their homes.
Previously scheduled meeting takes place after President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of separation from US
Park Geun-hye makes U-turn on constitutional reform, claiming 5 years in office may be too short to make real difference
"At the UN, the leader of a country asked me which of the candidates I preferred. I responded: 'Do I prefer the bad over the worse, or the worse over the bad?" Rouhani said at a speech in Arak in central Iran.