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US blacklists Taliban associates
Treasury department freezes assets of three Taliban and Haqqani network fundraisers.
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2010 08:51 GMT
Serajuddin, the commander of the Haqqani network, was blacklisted by the US in 2008 [Al Jazeera]

The United States has designated as "terrorists" three men who allegedly help raise funds and manage finances for the Taliban and the Pakistan-based Haqqani network.

The decision, announced on Thursdayby the US treasury department, comes days after Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said during a visit to Pakistan that the US plans to designatethe Haqqani network as a "foreign terrorist organisation".

Thursday's designation freezes the US finances of the three men: Gul Agha Ishakzai, Amir Abdullah and Nasiruddin Haqqani.

It also bars any person or business in America from doing any business with them.

Haqqani's brother Serajuddin,himself added to the treasury department's blacklist in 2008, is the commander of the so-called Haqqani network, which is considered the deadliest threat to US and Nato forces in Afghanistan. 

Fund collection

According to the treasury, Haqqani functions as an emissary for his brother's network and helps to collect funds from drug trafficking profits and donors in the Arabian Gulf and others connected to al-Qaeda.

Abdullah and Ishakzai have both served as financial specialists for the Afghan Taliban,the treasury said.

Ishakzai, a childhood friend of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar, heads the group's financial commission and belongs to a council that collects taxes from the Balochistan province in Pakistan.

Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, is believed to be the current headquarters of Omar's movement.

The treasury accused Ishakzai of raising money for suicide attacks and disbursing funds to Taliban fighters and their families.

Abdullah served as a treasurer to Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Omar's deputy, who was arrestedin Pakistan in February. Abdullah has travelled to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya and the United Arab Emirates to raise money for the Taliban, the treasury said.

More radical

While Omar's "Quetta Shura" has shown some interest in negotiating with the Afghan government, the Haqqani network is considered more radical with strong ties to the Pakistani intelligence services.

Some analysts saythat Pakistan is reticent to dismantle the Haqqani network, which is based in the country's restive North Waziristan province, because it views the Haqqanis as a strategic asset against Indian influence in Afghanistan and worries that doing so could trigger a revolt in the northwest tribal areas.

But the United States is wary of the network - nominally led by Serajuddin's father, the ex-mujahideen and reputed former CIA assetJalaluddin Haqqani.

The Haqqani network has been "spearheading insurgent activity" in Afghanistan, according to the treasury department statement. 

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister, declined to comment directly on the US plan to act against the Haqqanis during Clinton's visit.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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