|Seriously - Do these guys look like terrorists to you?|
Jalaluddin Haqqani is a Pashtun from Southeast Afghanistan, and represents a textbook example of why the arbitrary national borders drawn by the colonials in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are dangerous and counterproductive. Haqqani's tribal area covers a geographic area that straddles the border, which gives them in modern times a perfect sanctuary in Pakistan's tribal frontier from which to mount operations in Afghanistan. The US has been, quite unrealistically, pressuring the Pakistani military to launch an offensive against the Haqqanis in Waziristan - such an attack would indeed be helpful to the American and NATO presence in Afghanistan, but the government in Islamabad recognizes that there is truly nothing in such a fight for them. They know that eventually the international forces will withdraw from Afghanistan, and they will be left with a long border shared with Afghanistan and a continuing strategic standoff with India. Indeed, the actions of the US government today can be best seen in this light - another attempt to pressure the government of Pakistan to act in America's best interests instead of their own.
As mentioned previously, the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation will change very little. The US military has been trying to damage or destroy the Haqqani Network militarily for years, trying to trap them in Afghanistan and launching cross-border attacks into Pakistan using Drones and Afghan mercenaries. That battle will continue, probably even heat up. But there is something interesting here. The Haqqani network is considered a problem by the US government because of their attacks on US and NATO occupation forces in Afghanistan. By definition, attacks by resistance fighters against military occupiers is NOT considered terrorism, and in fact has been embraced many times by the US, from the French resistance in WW II to Organizations like, well, the Haqqani Network when they were resisting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. One of the most dangerous factors contributing to the ongoing militarization of our society and the creation of an endless state of low-level global conflict is this squishy, flexible, non-specific definition (or lack thereof) of terrorism. If terrorism can be anything we say it is, or anything the Russians or the Chinese or the Israelis or the Iranians say it is, or if it is used to kill and destroy anything and anyone we (or they) don't like, then it is only a matter of time when someone designates US as the terrorists and attacks us.
Everything about the war and occupation in Afghanistan is an obscenity - from its pointlessness and futility to its small, local brutalities to the lies used to create and sustain it to the hatred it evokes and perpetuates. With these wars of choice, killing, maiming and destroying for artificial political or economic reasons, the US has not only made herself into a monster, she has changed the world forever. This is the future - not the one of technology and trade, rising living standards, decreasing poverty, healthier, richer and better educated people that we could have had - but rather one of the exercise of raw power at the point of a gun, death, sickness and suffering inflicted upon people almost randomly because it's just too hard to figure out a more civilized solution to the same old problems. Technology has made rich nations invincible, and those invincible militaries will always be used, because it's beyond the capacity of human imagination to NOT use them. Your children's world will be one of drones, and terrorism, assassinations and truck bombs, cyber war and nuclear proliferation. It is not a bright, hopeful future, and it is us who are primarily to blame.