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US imposes sanctions on Taliban, Haqqani network leaders

May 18, 2012 10:23 IST
The United States has imposed sanctions on two individuals linked with the Taliban and the Haqqani network, the US Department of Treasury has said.

Bakht Gul, a Haqqani Network communications official, has been designated for acting for or on behalf of Badruddin Haqqani. Abdul Baqi Bari, a Taliban financier, is being designated for providing financial support for or financial services to, the Taliban, Adam Szubin, Director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control said.

"By designating these individuals the Treasury is taking another step to ensure all those who perpetuate ongoing violence and terrorist activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan will continue to be marginalised and cut off from the international financial system, and they will find it increasingly difficult to carry out their objectives," Szubin said.

As a result of the action, all property in the US or in the possession or control of US persons in which Bakht Gul or Abdul Baqi Bari has an interest is blocked, and US persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

The Treasury said Bakht Gul has been a key Haqqani Network communications official since at least 2009.

Gul works directly for senior Haqqani Network leader Badruddin Haqqani and has served as a gatekeeper for Badruddin. "Gul's responsibilities include relaying reports from commanders in Afghanistan to senior Haqqani Network officials, Taliban media officials, and legitimate media outlets in Afghanistan," he said.

Gul also works with Haqqani Network officials, including Badruddin Haqqani, to coordinate the movement of Haqqani insurgents, foreign fighters, and weapons. "As of 2010, Gul relayed operational orders from Badruddin Haqqani to fighters in Afghanistan," the Treasury said adding that Gul distributed money to Haqqani Network sub-commanders traveling into Afghanistan in late 2009.

The Treasury said Abdul Baqi Bari has served as a Taliban money launderer and financial manager since at least 2001.

He has used Pakistani banks to secure money given to him by Taliban sources and in 2002 gave an individual $2.6 million in Taliban money to deposit in separate bank accounts. "Bari has also used a company to funnel funds to support Taliban and Al Qaeda activity in Afghanistan.

In 2002, Al Qaeda senior leader Osama Bin Laden provided Bari and an associate $500,000 to purchase a factory for the company, and Taliban personnel subsequently established satellite offices throughout Afghanistan," he said.

"The same month, Afghanistan's Pajhwok news service reported that, in the twilight of the Taliban government, Mullah Omar had ordered the payment of 1$68 million from

Afghanistan's national bank to a number of individuals, among whom Bari was at the top of the list, according to the chief of Interpol in Afghanistan.

Recipients of the money allegedly launched businesses inside and outside Afghanistan and were funding "terrorists" in the region. Pakistani authorities froze more than $5 million in funds belonging to two of Bari's companies," it said.

In 2001, Mullah Omar directed Bari to allocate money from his businesses to pay al-Qa'eda and Taliban supporters. Bari used money exchange businesses in Pakistan to funnel financial support to the Taliban and the Al Qaeda and, in one instance, conducted a $400,000 hawala transfer for Mullah Omar.

During the Taliban regime, the Taliban transferred $2.8 million from an account in Europe to Bari fearing that their accounts would be frozen.

The Taliban would get money from Bari as they needed it, essentially using him as the Taliban's bank. Bari kept the money in bank accounts outside of Afghanistan so that the accounts would not be frozen by the new Afghan government.

Bari has also served as an intermediary in procuring weapons for the Taliban, it said.

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