US adds four Afghan, Pakistani terrorists to global terrorist list

Islamabad — The United States has added four top Islamic terrorists operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan to its list of “specially designated global terrorists” amid a resurgence of violence and border tensions in the region. did. The terrorist leaders hail from Pakistan’s Taliban and al-Qaeda branches in South Asia.

Both terrorist groups operate out of Afghanistan, but they also have hideouts in the mountains of northwest Pakistan and elsewhere.

The State Department’s announcement on Thursday came days after Pakistan’s Taliban movement, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, ended a month-long ceasefire with Pakistan and resumed attacks across the country.

Amid threats from terrorists, Pakistan’s interior ministry stepped up security in public places and mosques on Friday.The TTP called on fighters to target security forces across the country. The terrorist group was behind a 2014 attack on a Peshawar school that killed 147 people.

The State Department said the terrorist designation would trigger sanctions against four terrorist commanders from the South Asian branch of the TTP and al-Qaeda.

of statement I read that the US is targeting “threats posed by terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, including al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS) and Pakistan’s Taliban-Taliban (TTP).” The US will work to prevent terrorists from using Afghanistan as a “platform for international terrorism,” he added.

“As a result of these actions,” the statement said. [Thursday] Those under U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and all U.S. persons are generally prohibited from doing business with them. “

The US said sanctioned individuals included Osama Mehmoud, the head of al-Qaeda’s South Asian branch. Yahya Ghori, Deputy Head of Al-Qaeda Branch. Muhammad Maruf in charge of recruiting for the group.

It also appointed Qari Amjad, the leader of the TTP to oversee terrorist attacks in northwest Pakistan.

In a statement, the TTP condemned the US action.

The latest action by the State Department comes days after General Asim Munir was appointed as Pakistan’s new army chief amid a spike in terrorist attacks against Pakistan’s security forces.

Pakistan Army Secretary
Pakistan’s outgoing Chief of Army Qamar Javed Bajwa (R) hands over a ceremonial baton to his replacement, General Asim Munir, during a change of command ceremony in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, November 29, 2022. (inter service announcement via AP)

One of the key challenges facing General Munir is how to respond to threats from Pakistan’s Taliban.

US CENTCOM Director General Erik Kurilla spoke to General Munir via video conference call and congratulated him on his new position, a US Central Command spokesman said in a statement. The two leaders discussed security cooperation between the United States and Pakistan, he added.

The TTP emerged after the Pakistani government became a key ally of the United States in the war on terrorism following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was killed in a US Navy SEAL operation in May 2011 in his hideout in the garrison city of Abbottabad, not far from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.

Pakistani officials did not immediately comment on the US’ new terrorist designation, but Islamabad called on Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers to do more to prevent terrorists from operating in the country. . The request from Pakistan came after a deadly suicide attack earlier this week claimed by the TTP. The attack targeted police protecting health workers distributing polio vaccines in southwestern Pakistan.

The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group, although they are allied with the Afghan Taliban terrorist group that has been in control of Afghanistan since US and NATO forces withdrew last year. and its top leaders and fighters are hiding in neighboring countries.

Mounir Ahmed

Associated Press