In a move to cripple the finances of a dangerous militant enemy, the US has designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist group. The Haqqani network has led some high profile attacks against the US in Afghanistan, but it also has a close relationship with the government in Pakistan. According to Reuters, the group acts much like a mafia, with some legitimate businesses to cover for its terrorist activities. The group is said to be as motivated by money as it is by ideology, so the terrorist designation could have a strong affect.
When the US designates a group as a terrorist group, it becomes much harder for said group to operate financially. Any assets in the United States are frozen, and anyone that does business with the group will be sanctioned. This will prove problematic for Pakistan, where the group has some legitimate interests in construction. The Pakistanis have long ties to the Haqqani network, just as they have with other terrorist groups that they have used as proxies to combat India.
The decision comes at a crucial time in relations between the US and Pakistan. Relations were just beginning to thaw after a very rocky period. Pakistani soldiers have been killed in US airstrikes, and the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden angered the Pakistanis as they were not informed of the raid ahead of time. Supply routes were just recently reopened in Pakistan after being closed for months. The latest move is not going to sit well in Pakistan.
The patience of the US in dealing with its War on Terror ally has been growing thin. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the US was reaching its limits with Pakistan. The country has long harbored terrorist groups that have launched deadly attacks against American forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan refuses to cut ties with these groups, as they hope to use them in future conflicts with India. Pakistan and India have been at each others throats for decades over the province of Kashmir.
While the tense relationship with Pakistan is important, it is more important to tackle dangerous groups like the Haqqani network. There will never be peace in Afghanistan as long as terrorist organizations have a safe haven in Pakistan. The border between the two countries is to porous to ever properly defend, so the Pakistanis will have to take action if peace is to be secured. Without the US to bolster its defenses, there is no way the Afghans would hold out long under constant pressure from groups who operate with impunity in Pakistan.