New US Sanctions on Taliban Leaders
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US Treasury Department has announced sanctions on five top Taliban leaders.
The announcement from the US Treasury Department came on Thursday ahead of the expected designation of the Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist organisation, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said is in its final stages.
Hajji Faizullah Noorzai, a prominent Taliban financer, his brother Hajji Malik Noorzai, Abdur Rehman, a Taliban facilitator, and Fazal Rahim, a financer of Al Qaeda are among those sanctioned.
"These financiers and facilitators provide the fuel for the Taliban, Haqqani network and Al Qaeda to realise their violent aspirations," said Under-Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.
As a result of the sanctions, Americans are prohibited from engaging in transactions with designees, and any assets they may hold under US jurisdiction are frozen.
In a statement, the Treasury said Faizullah had served as a prominent Taliban financier with whom senior rebel leaders invested funds. He has collected more than id="mce_marker"00,000 for the insurgents from donors in the Gulf and in 2009 gave them a portion of his own money.
He also financially supported a Taliban commander in Kandahar province, and has provided funding to assist with training Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters who were to conduct attacks against coalition and Afghan military forces.
Faizullah also facilitated Taliban training and operations. As of mid-2009, he supplied weapons, ammunition, explosives, and medical equipment to fighters from southern Afghanistan. In mid-2008, he was responsible for housing Taliban suicide bombers and moving them from Pakistan into Afghanistan.
Faizullah has also provided anti-aircraft missiles to the Taliban, helped move fighters around Helmand, facilitated rebel suicide bombings and gave them radios and vehicles in Pakistan.
He also operated a madrassa near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where tens of thousands of dollars were raised for the Taliban. His seminary grounds were used to provide training to Taliban fighters in the construction and use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs.
Hajji Malik Noorzai is a Pakistan-based businessman who, with his brother Faizullah, invested millions of dollars in various businesses for the Taliban. Since 2005, Malik has personally contributed tens of thousands of dollars and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Taliban, some of which was collected from donors in the Gulf region and Pakistan.
He also handled a hawala account in Pakistan that received tens of thousands of dollars transferred from the Gulf every few months to support Taliban activities. Malik and his brother also played a role in storing vehicles to be used in Taliban suicide bombing operations.
In mid- 2010, Malik and his brother secured the release of hundreds of cargo containers, reportedly worth millions of dollars, which Pakistani authorities had seized earlier that year because they believed the recipients had a connection to terrorism.
Abdur Rehman served as a Taliban facilitator since at least 2008. As a militant fundraiser, both he and his religious school in Karachi -- used as a centre for recruiting, indoctrinating, meeting and facilitating funding for guerrillas -- were directly linked to supporting the Taliban.
Rehman has also provided facilitation and financial services to Al Qaeda. He housed Al Qaeda facilitators in Pakistan and has been used by rebel leaders to pass information to each other. In early 2009, he travelled on behalf of an Al Qaeda facilitator to move funds for the Taliban and other militants in Pakistan.
In early 2007, Rehman planned to facilitate the movement of id="mce_marker" million from an Al Qaeda facilitator in the Gulf to Pakistan, where it would be used to finance suicide attacks and terrorist operations.
The Treasury said Abdul Aziz Abbasin was a key commander of the Haqqani network who, as of early 2010, received orders from and was appointed by Sirajuddin Haqqani to serve as the Taliban shadow governor of Orgun district in Paktika province.
Prior to his arrest in May 2010 by Pakistani authorities, Fazal Rahim was a financial facilitator for Al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a terrorist organisation.