US slaps sanctions against Pakistan-based terrorists

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The US Department of Treasury says that it wants to disrupt South Asian terrorist support networks. Photo: AP

The US Department of Treasury says that it wants to disrupt South Asian terrorist support networks. Photo: AP

New Delhi: The Trump administration late Wednesday imposed sanctions against three individuals believed to be linked to Pakistan-based terror networks as it called on the Pakistani government to deny sanctuaries to “dangerous” individuals and organisations.

The US Department of Treasury designated the three as “global terrorists” for their links to terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Taliban. The LeT is blamed for many terrorist attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack that killed 166 people.

“This has been done as part of our efforts to disrupt South Asian terrorist support networks,” the US Treasury said in a statement.

The three terrorists are Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad, Hizb Ullah Astam Khan and Dilawar Nadir Khan.

Since assuming office, the Trump administration has issued warnings to Pakistan to close terrorist sanctuaries and cracked down on Pakistan-based terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and other parts of South Asia.

In June, the Trump administration designated Pakistan-based United Jihad Council chief Syed Salahuddin a global designated terrorist. This came when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the US for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump. Again in December, the Trump administration put a hold on $255 million aid to Pakistan after it deemed that Islamabad had not taken satisfactory action against terrorists operating from its soil.

Wednesday’s designation implies that all property and interests in property of the three men, subject to US jurisdiction, are blocked and the US citizens are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

“The Treasury continues to aggressively pursue and expose radicals who support terrorist organisations and run illicit financial networks across South Asia,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, according to a PTI report.

He said they were targeting operatives who provide logistical support, improvised explosive devices and other technological assistance to Al-Qaeda, LeT, the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

“This is part of this administration’s broader efforts to disrupt terrorist fund raising, and we call on the Pakistani government and others in the region to work with us to deny sanctuary to these dangerous individuals and organisations,” Mandelker said.

Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad (Rahman Zeb) was designated for providing financial, material, or technological support for, or other services to or in support of LeT, a UN- and the US-designated terrorist organisation based in Pakistan.

He was an LeT operative who for several years was responsible for collecting funds and running a network for LeT in the Gulf.

In early 2016, Zeb coordinated fund transfers with a Pakistan-based LeT facilitator. As of mid-2014, he was a long-standing contact of LeT members involved in Afghan operations, and was also involved in business activities with an LeT commander responsible for the group’s operations in Afghanistan, the Treasury alleged.

Additionally, in mid-2014, Zeb facilitated travel for Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshwari (aka Shaykh Aminullah) from Pakistan to the Gulf. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had in July 2009 designated Aminullah for providing material support to Al-Qaeda, LeT and the Taliban.

Hizb Ullah Astam Khan (Hizb Ullah) was designated for acting for or on behalf of Aminullah.

As of 2016, Hizb Ullah facilitated support for Aminullah and served as a financial official of a Peshawar-based madrassa that was co-founded by the latter.

As of early 2015, he provided assistance to Aminullah during latter’s travel in the Gulf. Hizb Ullah also facilitated Aminullah’s travel in 2013 to the Gulf. He previously worked for Aminullah as an improvised explosive device (IED) expert in Kunar province in Afghanistan, where he deployed IEDs targeting Afghan and coalition forces.

During that time, Hizb Ullah was involved with shipments of IED precursor chemicals supplied from Pakistan to Afghanistan for US-designated terrorist groups, including the Taliban and Jama’at ul Dawa al-Qu’ran (JDQ), The Treasury alleged.

Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan (Dilawar) was also designated for acting for or on behalf of Aminullah. He acted as Aminullah’s assistant responsible for handling his accommodations in Pakistan and relaying his messages. Dilawar has also facilitated funds transfers, including international transactions, on behalf of Aminullah.

In 2014, he facilitated travel for Aminullah within Pakistan, as well as to the Gulf.

In 2013, Dilawar was one of the leaders of the Ganj Madrassa, which the OFAC designated in August 2013 for being controlled by Aminullah and for providing financial and material support to LeT and the Taliban, the Treasury statement said.

PTI contributed to this report



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