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US tightens grip on Lashkar-e-Taiba

Updated Dec 29, 2016 12:55pm


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WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday further tightened its grip on Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) by adding yet another of its aliases to its terrorists list.

In a separate notification, also issued on Wednesday, the US Department of Treasury also added two senior LeT leaders — Muhammad Sarwar and Shahid Mahmood — to its list of declared terrorists.

In a statement the US State Department recalled that it in December 2001, it designated LeT as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation. “Since the original designation occurred, LeT has repeatedly changed its name and created front organisations ... to avoid sanctions,” the statement noted.

Soon after the group assumes a new name, the State Department adds it to its list of terrorist outfits. “To that effect, Al-Muhammadia Students (AMS) is the student wing of LeT. Founded in 2009, AMS is a subsidiary of LeT and has worked with senior LeT leaders to organise recruiting courses and other activities for youth,” said the latest notification.

The notification puts a “prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with this organisation.” It also blocks all property and interests the group or the individuals might have within the US jurisdiction.

In the other designation, the US Treasury Depart­ment identifies Muhammad Sarwar as a senior LeT official in Lahore for over 10 years who has held various leadership roles in the group, including his current position as LeT’s emir for Lahore.

Sarwar maintains relationships with LeT’s most senior leaders. Between 2012 and 2013, Sarwar worked with LeT’s foreign affairs chief Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, and in early 2013, Makki asked Sarwar for money to pay for his travel within Pakistan.

The US notification pointed out that Sarwar has been directly involved in LeT fundraising activities and uses the formal financial system in Pakistan to raise and move funds on behalf of LeT. In 2008, Sarwar led delegations of businessmen to LeT facilities for the purpose of soliciting donations, and as of mid-2009, Sarwar was one of two officials who headed LeT’s finance wing in Lahore.

The notification identifies Shahid Mahmood as a longstanding senior LeT member based in Karachi. He has been affiliated with the group since 2007 and between June 2015 and June 2016, Mahmood served as the vice chairman of Falah-i-Insaniat Founda­tion (FIF), a humanitarian and fundraising arm of LeT. FIF has been designated as an alias for LeT by the State Department as well as by the UN committee for counter-terrorism. In 2014, Mahmood was the leader of FIF in Karachi.

The Treasury claimed that since 2012, Mahmood has routinely travelled overseas and worked with international organisations on behalf of LeT to conduct business for the group in FIF’s name. In 2012, Mahmood travelled to Bangladesh to distribute funds to a Burmese migrant camp for the purpose of facilitating LeT recruitment. In August 2012, Mahmood, while in charge of the Sindh chapter of FIF, led a LeT delegation to Myanmar, and in mid-2014, he travelled to Syria and Turkey and was subsequently appointed to lead FIF efforts in both countries. Mahmood has also travelled to Gaza.

Mahmood was previously part of LeT’s overseas operations team led by Sajid Mir. In August 2012, the State Department put Mir on its terrorists list. While part of LeT’s operations team, Mahmood’s areas of responsibility included Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.

In August 2013, Mahmood was instructed to forge covert links with Islamic organisations in Bangladesh and Myanmar, and as of late 2011, Mahmood claimed that LeT’s primary concern should be attacking India and America.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2016

Comments (13) Closed

naqeeb Dec 29, 2016 12:57pm

USA has lost its image by its double standard and the vacuum she created in this world is filing by Russia and China.

Shishir Dec 29, 2016 01:39pm

Why can't the same money be donated to build more schools and hospitals?

Sal Dec 29, 2016 01:43pm

The things which we needed to do is being done by US. We should support US on this.

Zealot Dec 29, 2016 03:15pm

Since May US has been engaging with us.and not for once we answered she think that WE WILL PAY HEED TO THEM NOW????



Gerry D'Cunha Dec 29, 2016 03:25pm

Had America mind its own business and not interfered in other countries affairs,this world would have been a better place and terrorism would have not been created. It's still time for America to live and let others live in peace from 2017.

Dr Anwar Memon MD Dec 29, 2016 03:30pm

It beggars belief why we can't do it our self? Its embarrassing that US gets the evidence of these so called 'social and humanitarian workers' and 'fund raisers' who in fact are scouting for jihadists. What happened to NAP? Is LeT and its aliases exempt from it?

Surgical Strike Dec 29, 2016 04:19pm

It is good to see US taking a step in the right direction for a change.

TM Dec 29, 2016 05:07pm

Gov't of Pakistan why don't you have the guts to stop such activities and enforce a complete an on ALL such groups.....especially one's being funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In fact it is the Saudis who should stop interfering and trying to change the culture in Pakistan

Pookey dookey Dec 29, 2016 06:23pm

Why didn't Pakistan has not taken any actions when this organization operates out of its soil

Hamid Dec 29, 2016 07:13pm

Did the US really do this because it is a terror outfit or to please its client in order to sell more hardware

Khwarezmi Dec 29, 2016 07:31pm

US is in decline. US image has been tarnished all over the world because of the Iraqi WMD lies, supporting militants in Syria and Donald Trump who even Europe hates.

As Pakistan's relations with US will become weaker the coming years so will also US foreign policy in Pakistan. Pakistan's future is with China financially, geographically and secuity who will veto everything Pakistan ask them to from Indian permanent UNSC seat to NSG membership.

Bishmullaah Dec 29, 2016 10:09pm

@Gerry D When America interferes, then a hefty dollar flow also starts and that is never a bad deal. That goes with China also. There is no such thing as free money.

Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad Dec 31, 2016 10:12pm

The US administrations must concentrate on its domestic problems and issues rather than poking its nose in overseas adventures. Time has changed and the world has also changed. The sooner it is realized, the better.