WASHINGTON: In one of his final acts as the US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo has redesignated Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as foreign terrorist organisations.
A statement issued in Washington on Thursday evening said that the Department of State had amended the terrorist designations of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and ISIL Sinai Peninsula (ISIL-SP) group to include additional aliases the two groups use. These aliases have been added to LJ and ISIL-SP’s designations as Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTO) and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).
Additionally, the department has “reviewed and maintained the FTO designations of LJ, ISIL-SP, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al Naqshabandi, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (Ansaru), al-Nusra Front, Continuity Irish Republican Army, and the National Liberation Army,” the statement added.
The FTO and SDGT designations seek to deny these terrorist organisations the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks.
Their property and interests in the United States or within the possession or control of US persons are blocked, and US persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them. In the US, it is a federal crime to knowingly provide or attempt to provide material support or resources to any group designated as an FTO.
“Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate them and deny them access to the US financial system. Designations can assist the law enforcement actions of other US agencies and governments,” the statement added.
The Trump administration will complete its four-year term on Jan 20 when President-elect Joe Biden takes oath as the 46th US president. President Trump, who has been largely hands-off on foreign policy, has been forced into seclusion after the Jan 6 mob attack on Congress, apparently on his urging.
Mr Trump’s social media accounts have been blocked and he is also avoiding the mainstream media as the two never had cordial relations.
But unlike his boss, Secretary Pompeo has been busy, announcing a raft of policies that are widely seen as efforts to set a foreign policy agenda for the incoming Biden administration.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2021