WASHINGTON, Feb 19: The United States on Wednesday designated Pakhtoon Afghan warlord Gulbadeen Hekmatyar as a global terrorist, linking him to Osama bin Laden and the deposed Taliban.

Hekmatyar, whose shifting allegiances over the last 20 years are emblematic of Afghanistan’s tortured political past, was last reported to be seeking to build alliances with fractured Al Qaeda and Taliban networks.

His reported past links to the US Central Intelligence Agency, also reflect the price of Washington’s anti-Soviet policy in Afghanistan, as he is one of a number of former US clients who have now turned against their former benefactor.

The designation, jointly agreed by the State Department and the Treasury, will lead to the seizure of any assets held by Hekmatyar in the United States, or by US-affiliated companies and financial institutions.

The US is also asking a United Nations committee on terrorism to include Hekmatyar on a list of entities and individuals associated with Osama, in a move that could lead to further asset freezes, the official said.

“He has participated in and supported terrorist acts committed by Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” said a State Department official on condition of anonymity.

Confirmation of involvement by Hekmatyar or his Hezb-i-Islami groups is difficult to prove — but he has been implicated in reports in a minibus attack near Kandahar in January in late January.—AFP

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