US slaps sanctions on Pakistan-based terror groups

The US Tuesday targeted two terrorist groups based in Pakistan by slapping sanctions on their leader and financial supporters.

The Department of Treasury branded Fazl-ur Rehman Khalil, the leader of Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HuM), and Muhammad Naeem Sheikh and Umair Naeem Sheikh, two alleged financial supporters of Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT), as specially designated global terrorists, Xinhua reported.

Abdul Hameed Shahab-Ud-Din and Nia International, two businesses based in the Pakistani city of Lahore and owned respectively by the two Sheikhs, were blacklisted as well.

As a result, their assets under US jurisdiction are frozen and Americans are barred from doing business with them.

“Both LeT and HuM are violent terrorist organizations that train militants and support the activities of many of the best known and brutal extremist groups, including al-Qaida,” David Cohen, under secretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

“Today’s designations will disrupt efforts by these terrorist organisations to access their financial networks and the international financial system,” he said.

The Treasury Department described HuM as a terrorist group that operates in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan with training camps in eastern Afghanistan. The group, which renamed itself Ansar ul-Umma in mid-2013, was listed as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US State Department in 1997.

Washington blamed LeT for the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, that killed nearly 200 people and injured more than 300 others.