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US names eight Pakistan LeT militants for sanctions

August 30, 2012


Activists and supporters of a religious party sit on vehicles in Lahore, as they take part in a protest rally. -AFP File Photo

WASHINGTON: The United States placed sanctions on eight Pakistanis it called leaders of the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on Thursday, one of them allegedly a key planner for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

“The individuals targeted today include LeT members based in Pakistan who are involved in the outfit’s propaganda campaigns, financial networks, and logistic support networks,” the US Treasury said in a statement.

The eight included Sajid Mir, a longtime LeT recruiter whom the US Treasury called the “project manager” for the November 2008 attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai.

Mir was also behind the recruitment of four “operatives” in the US state of Virginia in the 2000s, the Treasury said.

Mir “cleared them for LeT's militant training, and directed them to monitor and research US target sites.” Second on the list was Abdullah Mujahid, called LeT's “senior paramilitary commander for Afghanistan” since around mid-2008.

Also on the list are Ahmed Yaqub, called LeT's chief for Bangladesh and Nepal operations; Hafiz Khalid Walid, who runs the LeT political bureau; Amir Hamza, a propagandist and central advisory committee member; Qari Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, head of the LeT ulema (clerics) wing; Abdullah Muntazir, called an LeT media official, and Talha Saeed, also in teacher and media relations for the group.

The US has labeled LeT a “terrorist group” and says it has links to the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and al Qaeda.

The sanctions forbid US individuals and companies from undertaking any transactions with the eight and freeze any assets they may have in the United States.

“Attacking LeT's facilitation networks is particularly important, since charitable donations LeT raises in Pakistan – its primary revenue source – are used to fuel LeT's militant operations,” said David Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.