A Pakistani Taliban militant holds a rocket-propelled grenade in Waziristan. The Haqqani network was blamed for the recent attack on the US embassy in Kabul. Photograph: Ishtiaq Mahsud/AP

US set to blacklist Haqqani as terrorist organisation, claims report

Officials argue blacklisting would help curtail fundraising activities and pressure Pakistan to act against militants

The US is poised to blacklist as a terrorist organisation the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, according to a report..

Designation by the state department as a foreign terrorist organisation, which could happen as early as Friday, would bring sanctions including criminal penalties for anyone providing material support to the group and seizure of any assets in the US.

The administration was facing a congressional deadline this weekend.

The New York Times said senior officials who argued against blacklisting the group, which has been accused of high-profile terrorist attacks, were concerned it could further damage relations with Pakistan and possibly jeopardise the fate of US Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who is being held by the militants.

But state department and military officials who argued for the designation believed it would help curtail the group’s fundraising activities in countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and pressure Pakistan to act against the militants, the newspaper said.

“This shows that we are using everything we can to put the squeeze on these guys,” the paper quoted an administration official as saying. Four officials had confirmed the move, the New York Times said.

Asked to comment on the story, a senior state department official said: “As she noted earlier this week, the secretary expects to send her report on the Haqqani network to Congress today, September 7, and announce her decision regarding designation of the Haqqani network.”

The Haqqani network is linked to al-Qaida and has been blamed by American officials for some of the worst attacks in Afghanistan, including recent attacks on the US embassy in Kabul and on US troops.

Washington accuses Pakistan’s intelligence agency of supporting the Haqqani network and using it as a proxy to gain leverage against the growing influence of India in Afghanistan.