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US slaps more sanctions on Pakistan-based militants

February 7, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration imposed sanctions Wednesday on three individuals linked to Pakistan-based militant networks as it pushes Islamabad to crack down on perpetrators of attacks on Afghanistan.

The Treasury Department designated the men as “global terrorists” for their connections to Lashkar-e-Taiba and other groups. It comes two weeks after the U.S. blacklisted six people accused of supporting the Taliban and Haqqani network in Afghanistan, and stressed their links to Pakistan.

Those targeted Wednesday include Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad, said to have collected funds for Lashkar in the Gulf and to have been a long-standing contact for Lashkar members involved in Afghan operations.

“This is part of this Administration’s broader efforts to disrupt terrorist fundraising, and we call on the Pakistani government and others in the region to work with us to deny sanctuary to these dangerous individuals and organizations,” Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

Lashkar has been designated as a terrorist organization by both the U.S. and the United Nations. It has also been blamed for violence against Pakistan’s neighbor and rival India, including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

The other two men blacklisted Wednesday are accused of acting on behalf of Sheikh Aminullah, who was sanctioned in 2009 for providing material support to al-Qaida and the Taliban. In 2013, the United States took the unusual step of also blacklisting the madrassa, or Islamic school, Aminullah controlled in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The department said Hizb Ullah Astam Khan served as a financial official of the madrassa. It said he was previously a bomb expert for Aminullah in eastern Afghanistan and shipped bomb-making chemicals from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan, another leader at the madrassa, is said to have relayed Aminullah’s messages, transferred funds and facilitated his travel in Pakistan and the Gulf.

As part of President Donald Trump’s effort to turn the tide in the 16-year U.S. war in Afghanistan, his administration has cranked up pressure on Pakistan, suspending security assistance. Pakistan denies providing sanctuary to militants.

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