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Obama administration continues to target Pak terror groups

December 03, 2010 01:37 IST

The Obama administration continued to go after Pakistan-based terrorists, with the US Department of Treasury on Thursday designating  two of Pakistan's most wanted terrorists, Lashkar-e Jhangvi senior leader Amanullah Afridi for acting for or on behalf of the LeJ and LeJ chief operational commander Mati ur-Rehman for acting for or on behalf of the Al Qaeda. The Treasury also designated a third individual, Abdul Rauf Azhar, a senior leader of Jaish-e Mohammed, for acting on behalf of the JeM. 

While both the LeJ and JeM are Pakistan-based terrorist organizations,  the LeJ, which has  has conducted numerous attacks in Pakistan, is also the group said to be responsible for the January 2002 kidnapping and killing of US  journalist Daniel Pearl of the Wall Street Journal, who was allegedly killed for being of the Jewish faith.

"Today's designation are of two terrorist organisations responsible for deadly attacks against innocent civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey. "All three of today's targets are actively involved in leading or planning operations on behalf of these dangerous terrorist organizations."

Afridi has been a key figure in directing terrorist-related activities of LJ for several years.  As of November 2009, Afridi was the leader of a Karachi-based LeJ group and as of June 2009, the chief of the LeJ. Afridi is involved in numerous terrorist activities in Pakistan. He has prepared and provided suicide jackets for Al Qaeda operations, trained suicide bombers and trained the assassin of Pakistani cleric Allama Hassan Turabi, the treasury said.

Rehman is the chief operational commander of the LeJ and has also worked on behalf of the Al Qaeda. In September 2009 he was identified as a planning director for Al Qaeda and was linked to the August 2006 plot to destroy US-bound British aircraft. As a leader of the LeJ, Rehman has been involved in multiple terrorist activities and has led militants seeking to carry out attacks in Pakistan and was involved with a militant training camp in Pakistan. Rehman has also been implicated in plots or attacks against a former Pakistani president, a former Pakistani prime minister, and the US consulate in Karachi.

As a senior leader of JeM, Azhar has urged Pakistanis to engage in militant activities and has served as JeM's acting leader and as one of JEM's most senior commanders in India.  In 2008, Azhar was assigned to organise suicide attacks in India. He was also involved with JeM's political wing and has served as a JeM official involved with training camps.

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC