Pakistan must act against Haqqani terror network: US

July 24th, 2010 - 9:53 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 24 (IANS) The US has told Pakistan it must ban travel, freeze assets and put an arms embargo against key leaders of Pakistan-based Haqqani Network, identified as one of the most effective and dangerous terror groups.

The US Treasury Department Thursday imposed sanctions targeting Nasiruddin Haqqani, Agha Ishakzai, the head of the Taliban’s financial commission, and Amir Abdullah, former treasurer to senior Taliban leader Mullah Baradar.

Based in Waziristan, one of Pakistan’s remote tribal areas, the Haqqani Network is led by Nasiruddin Haqqani’s brother and has been blamed for several bomb attacks in Kabul in the last year. The Treasury Department says Nasiruddin has made several trips to the United Arab Emirates to raise money for the Taliban.

US officials say Gul Agha Ishakzai is the head of the Taliban’s financial commission and belongs to a council in Baluchistan, Pakistan that coordinates the collection of money. He is thought to be a close adviser to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Asked if the Pakistani government will need to take any specific actions as a result of the sanctions, State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley Friday noted the Treasury order blocks their property under US jurisdiction and prohibits Americans from any financial dealing with them.

“Not only have these individuals been designated under domestic legal authorities, they were also listed at the United Nations 1267 Consolidated List on July 19, 2010 for being associated with Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, or the Taliban,” Crowley said.

Noting “All United Nation members must implement a travel ban restriction, asset freeze, and arms embargo against these individuals,” he said: “Pakistan, as a UN member, must implement this international action.”

Asked to comment on a statement by the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke that the Haqqani Network targeted the venue of the Kabul summit, Crowley said: “I think it speaks for itself.”

“I can’t talk about intelligence matters, but we obviously are focused on and concerned about activities of the Haqqani Network and the threat that they pose to regional security, but I won’t go beyond what Richard said.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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