US designates AQIS, TTP leaders as global terrorists

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The State Department said Thursday it has designated TTP and Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”…reports Asian Lite News

The United States has added the key Pakistani militant group and the Al-Qaeda branch to its list of “global terrorists,” triggering sanctions against the groups amid a resurgence of militant violence in this Islamic nation.

Thursday’s move by the State Department comes days after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, known as TTP, ended a monthslong cease-fire with Pakistan and resumed attacks across the country.

The threat issued by the TTP forced Pakistani authorities to take additional measures, and security was tight on orders from the Interior Ministry outside worship and other public places Friday amid fears of more attacks. TTP has asked its fighters to target security forces across the country. Pakistani Taliban were behind the 2014 attack on a Peshawar school that killed 147 people, mostly schoolchildren.

The State Department said Thursday it has designated TTP and Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”

The agency’s statement said the US is “committed to using its full set of counterterrorism tools to counter the threat posed by terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, including Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)” to keep militants from using Afghanistan as “a platform for international terrorism.”

“As a result of these actions,” the statement said, “all property and interests in property of those designated (Thursday) that are subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and all US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them.”

The United States also named four members of TTP and Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent Osama Mehmood, the head of the Al-Qaeda branch, Yahya Ghouri, the deputy chief of Al-Qaeda’s branch, and Muhammad Maruf, who is responsible for recruitment for the group.

It also designated TTP’s leader, Qari Amjad, who oversees militant attacks in northwest Pakistan.

Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden was killed in a US Navy SEALs operation in May 2011 in his hiding place in the garrison city of Abbottabad, not far from the capital of Islamabad, and TTP emerged after Pakkistan became a key ally of the United States in its war on terror after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

There was no immediate comment from Pakistan, but the latest development comes after Islamabad asked the Taliban in Afghanistan to prevent TTP from using their soil for attacks inside the Islamic nation. The demand from Pakistan came after a suicide bomber dispatched by TTP blew himself up near a truck carrying police assigned to protect polio workers in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province.

TTP has claimed responsibility for the attack, which has drawn nationwide condemnation.

The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but allied with Afghanistan’s Taliban, who have ruled their country since the US and NATO troops withdrew last year. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan emboldened their Pakistani allies, whose top leaders and fighters are hiding in the next door country.A

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