Washington: The Trump administration on Friday slapped sanctions on four Taliban and two Haqqani network leaders for terrorist activities and said Pakistan must work with the US to deny the terror groups safe haven on its soil and target their funding.
The four Taliban leaders include Abdul Samad Sani, Abdul Qadeer Basir, Abdul Baseer, Hafiz Mohammed Popalzai, and Maulawi Inayatullah, while Haqqani network leaders as Faqir Muhammad and Gula Khan Hamidi.
All six have been designated as global terrorists by the US’ Department of Treasury.
As a result, all property and interests in property of these persons subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and the US citizens are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
“We are targeting six individuals related to the Taliban or Haqqani Network who have been involved in attacks on coalition troops, smuggling of individuals, or financing these terrorist groups,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
He said the action supports the President Donald Trump’s South Asia Strategy by disrupting terrorist organisations and publically exposing individuals who facilitate their activities.
“The Pakistani government must work with us to deny the Taliban and the Haqqani Network sanctuary and to aggressively target theirterroristfund raising,” Mandelker said.
In early 2017, Sani sent weapons to Taliban members who later attacked an Afghan National Police (ANP) patrol resulting in the death of an ANP officer and the wounding of two others.
In June, 2015, Sani was a member of the ‘Taliban Senior Shura’ and had received funding to purchase supplies and ammunition for Taliban commanders and fighters engaged in combat in Afghanistan.
In March, 2015, he was personally involved in appointing special representatives to serve as Taliban fundraisers abroad.
Sani served as the Taliban’s deputy finance commissioner, and also as the governor for the Afghan Central Bank during the Taliban regime.
In the fall of 2017, Baseer provided Taliban commanders with tens of thousands of dollars for attacks in Kunar province of Afghanistan.
In early 2016, he hosted meetings with leaders of the Taliban to convince them to support the then supreme leader of the Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansur.
In 2009, he served as the treasurer for the Taliban in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Baseer was the financial advisor to the Taliban’s Peshawar Military Council and head of the Taliban’s Peshawar Financial Commission in early 2010.
He personally delivers money from the Taliban’s leadership Shura to Taliban groups throughout Pakistan.
During the Taliban regime, he was the general consul of the Taliban in Islamabad in Pakistan, and according to the United Nations, he also served as the Taliban regime’s military attach at the Taliban embassy in Islamabad.
Popalzai has served for several years at the Taliban Finance Commission and was in-charge of the Taliban’s finances for southern and western Afghanistan, including Qandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, Herat, Zabul, Uruzgan, and Farah provinces.
In mid-2011, the Taliban was paid 10 million euros for the release of hostages that it was holding.
The Taliban arranged for money to be deposited into an account at an Afghan bank in Qandahar, Afghanistan. The account, which ultimately belonged to Ishakzai, was held in a false name.
Popalzai travelled to Qandahar city to retrieve the money and return to Quetta, Pakistan to give the same to Ishakzai. Inayatullah has been a Taliban military affairs member in charge of multiple Afghan provinces, and was a member of the Taliban Peshawar Shura.
In late 2016, Inayatullah operated as the overall Taliban member responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Kabul.
He provided financial support and other materials for the attack planners.
As of late 2013, Inayatullah, as the Taliban’s military commission deputy leader, procured weapons, ammunition, and supplies for operations in Kunar Province in Afghanistan. In addition, he received a large sum of money from a contact and gave it to a courier to provide it to al-Qaeda militants.
For several years, Faqir has been a major fundraiser for the Haqqani Network.
He was designated for assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, the Haqqani Network, as well as for acting for or on behalf of the Haqqani Network.
As of July, 2015, Hamidi facilitated communication between a Haqqani Network official and a Haqqani Network contact in Syria and, as of mid-2014, he was relied upon to faithfully translate communications between Haqqani Network officials and a Haqqani Network contact in Syria.
In September, 2014, Hamidi agreed to facilitate travel for a Haqqani Network-affiliated Uzbek extremist and his associates from Pakistan to Turkey.
In July, 2014, he likely facilitated the transfer of funds from the Haqqani Network to a Pakistan-based Uzbek extremist.
In early 2014, Hamidi was an honoured representative of the Haqqani Network in meetings with various Syrian faction leaders in Syria.
During the same time, he planned to send funds to Germans located with the Haqqani Network in Pakistan.
In the fall of 2013, Hamidi coordinated with now-deceased senior Haqqani Network official and SDGT Nasiruddin Haqqani on the travel of an associate to Turkey.
In mid-2013, he sent approximately USD 21,000 to a senior Haqqani Network official.