Official says Islamabad must work with Washington to target terrorist fundraising
The U.S. warned Pakistan on Thursday to do more to crack down on the Taliban and Haqqani groups, as it added six officials from the groups to its sanctions blacklist.
The Treasury said five of the six were in charge of raising and transferring funds as well as equipment and materials to support the operations of the closely-linked groups, while the sixth was a senior Taliban military affairs official.
The sanctions ban any individual or company with a U.S. presence from doing business with them.
“We are targeting six individuals related to the Taliban or Haqqani Network who have been involved in attacks on Coalition troops, smuggling of individuals, or financing these terrorist groups,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “The Pakistani government must work with us to deny the Taliban and the Haqqani Network sanctuary and to aggressively target their terrorist fundraising,” he said in a statement.
Three of the four Taliban officials sanctioned, Abdul Qadeer Basir Abdul Baseer, Abdul Samad Sani, and Hafiz Mohammed Popalzai, worked under the head of the Taliban Finance Commission, Gul Agha Ishakzai. Under his direction they collected funds from drug traffickers, precious stone sales, hostage ransoms and donors to be distributed to Taliban fighters, the Treasury said.
A fourth, Maulawi Inayatullah, was identified as a Taliban military affairs official responsible as recently as 2016 for attacks on Afghan and Coalition forces in Kabul.
Two others placed on the sanctions blacklist—Faqir Muhammad and Gula Khan Hamidi—were said to help the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network raise and move money and help fighters travel to the Middle East and beyond.
Muhammad was called a major Haqqani fundraiser, while Hamidi was described as important in managing the Haqqani Network outside of the region, reaching into Syria, Iran, and Turkey, and cooperating with Al Qaeda.
On top of his Haqqani work, the Treasury said, Hamidi “has also been involved for years in coordinating travel and smuggling activity, to include working with an Iran-based smuggler regarding the travel of persons from Afghanistan to Europe in late 2017.”