“Certainly the biggest concern is that designating the Haqqani network would put a lot of pressure on Washington to go a step further and designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terror,” says Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center International Center for Scholars in Washington. “That would effectively spell the end of US-Pakistan relations as we have known them.”
The list of potential ramifications suggests why the State Department will say only that it continues to evaluate the pros and cons of designating the Haqqani group – an evaluation that has been in the works for years.
“We are continuing to review whether to designate the entire [Haqqani] organization,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday.
But she suggested that concerns for US-Pakistan relations were part of the equation. The US has been “absolutely clear” in extensive high-level conversations with the Pakistanis “that the Haqqani network is job one, that we want to do it together, and that’s the conversation that we’re having now,” she said.