The Taliban has denounced America's move to blacklist the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network as a terrorist organisation, saying it would have no impact on operations and was indicative of the U.S. defeat in Afghanistan.
The Taliban, in a statement released through micro-blogging site Twitter, said there was "no separate entity... in Afghanistan by the name of Haqqani". It added that the network's founder and its fighters were totally loyal to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar, reports The Express Tribune.
The Taliban said previous terrorist designations against its members had no impact on operations and "this latest announcement will also be ineffective".
The U.S. blamed the Haqqanis for a June hotel attack just outside Kabul, the 2011 siege on the U.S. embassy and, in 2009, the deadliest attack on the CIA in 25 years.
Earlier on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said she would press ahead with the Haqqani blacklisting, which will make it a crime in the U.S. to provide the network with any material support, and freeze any of their property or interests in the U.S.
"The Islamic Emirate does not have any trade agreements with any American companies or individuals and neither does it have monetary funds there which could be frozen," the Taliban said.
"This cowardly act of yours in which you enter mujahideen of Islamic Emirate into your so-called black list is indicative of your complete defeat and dismay," it added.
Former U.S. military chief Admiral Mike Mullen said last year the Haqqani had become a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. That triggered concern that the U.S. could indirectly be branding Pakistan a terrorist state.
But U.S. officials downplayed such fears, insisting Islamabad had been informed in advance, and stressing the move would not hamper any future peace talks with the Taliban. (ANI)