Washington: The United States said on Thursday it had moved to cut off financial and other aid to the al Qaeda Kurdish Battalions (AQKB), which has attacked Iraq`s Kurdistan Regional Government, by naming it as a specially designated global terrorist entity.
The US State Department said its decision freezes any assets AQKB holds under US jurisdiction and bars US persons from carrying out transactions with it, a step designed to help reduce the flow of financial or other assistance to the group.
In a written statement, the State Department said that AQKB was established in 2007 from the remnants of other Kurdish "terrorist organisations" and has sworn allegiance to militant groups including al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq.
It said AQKB has claimed responsibility for attacks against Kurdish targets in Iraq, including a 2007 attack in which 19 people were killed when a vehicle loaded with explosives struck the Kurdish ministries of the Interior and Security in Arbil.
The department said that AQKB killed seven border guards and another security force member in a July 2007 ambush in Penjwin, Iraq and that in two police officers were injured during a foiled September 2010 AQKB suicide bomb attack in Sulaimaniya.
Nine years after the US-led invasion, much of Iraq is still plagued by Sunni insurgents and Shi`ite militias, but Iraqi Kurdistan has enjoyed relative peace and prosperity after successfully rising up against Saddam Hussein in 1991 and achieving federal autonomy under Iraq`s 2005 Constitution.
Kurdish regional government officials said al Qaeda Kurdish Battalions was a very small and weak group and had not launched any recent attacks.