Anti-Pakistan Groups Terroris 12/02 06:17
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- The United States has added a key anti-Pakistani militant
group and its al-Qaida branch to its list of "global terrorists," triggering
sanctions against the groups amid a resurgence of militant violence in this
Both groups operate from Afghanistan, but they have hideouts in Pakistan's
former tribal regions in the northwest and elsewhere as well.
Thursday's announcement by the State Department comes days after the
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, known as TTP, ended a monthslong ceasefire 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 that on Wednesday it designated TTP and al-Qaida
in the Indian Subcontinent as "Specially Designated Global Terrorists."
The agency's statement said the U.S. 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 U.S.
jurisdiction are blocked, and all U.S. persons are generally prohibited from
engaging in any transactions with them."
The United States also named four members of TTP and al-Qaida in the Indian
Subcontinent Osama Mehmood, the head of the al-Qaida branch, Yahya Ghouri, the
deputy chief of al-Qaida'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.
In a statement, TTP denounced the U.S. measures, describing it as a "sad"
announcement. It asked Washington not to interfere in the affairs of other
countries. The group said it did not need the use of Afghan soil for attacks in
Pakistan, where the TTP claimed it enjoyed the backing of tribal people.
The latest measures by the State Department come days after Pakistan's new
army chief, Gen. Asim Munir, took command of the military amid a spike in
militant attacks on security forces and police in the country. He replaced
Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retired on Nov. 29 after completing his six-year
extended term as the army chief.
One of the key challenges faced by Gen. Munir is how to respond to the
threat from TTP.
In a statement, Col. Joe Buccino, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said
CENTCOM chief Gen. Erik Kurilla spoke via video teleconference with Gen. Munir
to congratulate him on his new position. He said the two leaders discussed
U.S.- Pakistan security cooperation efforts and strengthening the bilateral
Al-Qaida founder Osama Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. 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
The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but allied with Afghanistan's
Taliban, who have ruled their country since the U.S. 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.