Washington: The US on Thursday slapped sanctions on three Pak-based militants, including Abdul Rauf Azhar, the top commander of Jaish-e-Mohammed who in 2008 was assigned to organise suicide attacks in India.
Azhar is considered top JeM commander in India. The Treasury Department also slapped sanctions on two other terrorists: Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) senior leader Amanullah Afridi for acting for or on behalf of LeJ and its chief operational commander Mati ur-Rehman for acting for or on behalf of LeJ and al Qaeda.
"Today`s designation of two terrorist organizations responsible for deadly attacks against innocent civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey.
"All three of today`s targets are actively involved in leading or planning operations on behalf of these dangerous terrorist organisations," he said.
LeJ and JeM are both Pakistan-based terrorist organisations. LeJ has conducted numerous attacks in Pakistan and is responsible for the January 2002 kidnapping and killing of US journalist Daniel Pearl, the Treasury said.
LeJ was designated by the United States pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13224 in January 2003, by the UN 1267 Committee in February 2003 and was also designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) by the State Department in 2003.
JeM, which has conducted attacks in India and Afghanistan, was designated in October 2001 by the United States pursuant to EO 13224, by the UN 1267 Committee and by the State Department as an FTO in 2001.
Yesterday’s designations were taken pursuant to EO 13224, which prohibits US persons from engaging in any transactions with these individuals and freezes any assets the designees have under US jurisdiction.
"Abdul Rauf Azhar is a senior leader of JeM. As a senior leader of this terrorist organisation, Azhar has urged Pakistanis to engage in militant activities.”
“He has served as JeM`s acting leader in 2007, as one of JeM`s most senior commanders in India, and as JeM`s intelligence coordinator.”
“In 2008, Azhar was assigned to organise suicide attacks in India. He was also involved with JeM`s political wing and has served as a JeM official involved with training camps," the Treasury said.
The chief of LeJ and one of Pakistan`s most wanted terrorists, Amanullah Afridi, has been a key figure in directing terrorist-related activities of LeJ for several years, the Treasury said.
As of November 2009, Afridi was the leader of a Karachi-based LeJ group and, as of June 2009, the chief of LeJ.
Afridi is involved in numerous terrorist activities in Pakistan. He has prepared and provided suicide jackets for al Qaeda operations, trained suicide bombers and trained the assassin of Pakistani cleric Allama Hassan Turabi, it said.
One of Pakistan`s most wanted terrorists, Mati ur-Rehman is the chief operational commander of LeJ and has also worked on behalf of al Qaeda.
In September 2009, he was identified as a planning director for al Qaeda and was linked to the August 2006 plot to destroy US-bound British aircraft.
"As a leader of LeJ, Rehman has been involved in multiple terrorist activities. He has led militants seeking to carry out attacks in Pakistan and was involved with a militant training camp in Pakistan," the Treasury said.
"Rehman has also been implicated in plots or attacks against a former Pakistani president, a former Pakistani prime minister, and the US consulate in Karachi," it said.