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WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday designated Hizbul Mujahideen as a specially designated terrorist organisation led by an internationally recognised terrorist.

The step further increases US pressure on Pakistan to do more about tightening the screws on terrorist groups that allegedly use its territory for launching cross-border attacks in Afghanistan and India-held Kashmir.

Earlier in the day, the US Department of State announced that it had designated Hizbul Mujahideen — also known as HM — as a foreign terrorist organisation and as a specially designated global terrorist.

“These designations seek to deny HM the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks,” said the State Depart­ment while reminding US citizens that they were now prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group.

Formed in 1989, HM is one of the largest and oldest militant groups of Kashmir. The US has already declared its leader Mohammad Yusuf Shah, better known as Syed Salah­uddin, a specially designated global terrorist.

The State Department pointed out that Hizbul Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 attack in Kashmir, which injured 17 people.

US officials claim that HM still has a major presence in Pakistan and uses it for launching attacks in Kashmir.

Pakistan rejects the charge that terrorists use its territory for attacking other nations and points out that rece­nt military operations have forced Afghan militants to flee to Afghanistan, from where they carry out attacks in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2017