WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday designated a senior Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander a specially designated global terrorist and sanctioned two others as fund collectors for the banned group.
The commander, identified as Abdul Rehman al-Dakhil, is also accused of carrying out attacks in India between 1997 and 2001.
The fund-raisers were identified as Hameed-ul-Hassan and Abdul Jabbar, who allegedly worked for Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), which the US regards as a front for the LeT. Separate announcements by the US state and treasury departments claimed that all three were Pakistani nationals. “Today’s designations seek to deny Dakhil the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks,” the State Department said.
“These Lashkar-e-Taiba financial facilitators are responsible for collecting, transporting and distributing funds to support this terrorist group and provide salaries to extremists,” said Sigal Mandelker, treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
“Treasury’s designations not only aim to expose and shut down Lashkar-e-Taiba’s financial network, but also to curtail its ability to raise funds to carry out violent terrorist attacks.”
The latest designations came days after the US expressed “deep reservations” over the participation of terrorist-affiliated individuals in the July 25 elections in Pakistan. The State Department, however, also felicitated Pakistani voters for rejecting extremist candidates.
In April, the US added Milli Muslim League (MML), describing it as a political party floated by LeT founder Hafiz Saeed to mainstream the group, and Tehreek-i-Azadi Kashmir (TAJK), as LeT fronts.
The State Department described Dakhil as a long-time LeT member and an operational leader and accused him of carrying out terror attacks in India between 1997 and 2001, after which he shifted to West Asia. He was captured in Iraq in 2004 by British forces and spent 10 years in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan before being transferred to Pakistan in 2014, the State Department said.
After his release from Pakistani custody, on an unspecified date, he resumed working for LeT and became divisional commander for Jammu in 2016 and as of this year, the State Department added.
“Today’s action notifies the US public and the international community that Abdul Rehman al-Dakhil has committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism,” the designation order said.
The US Treasury Department said that the two fund collectors raised funds for distribution in Syria and worked with others to “transport funds to Pakistan on behalf of LeT”.
One of them, Hassan, has an active Twitter account, which identifies him as the leader of Jamaatud Dawa.
Jabbar, the other accused, raises money for LeT and distributes salaries for the group. He has worked in the group’s finance department since 2000. From 2016, he has been associated with FIF as well, the official US press release said.
Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2018