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US sanctions Pak Lashkar man, cites his Samjhauta blast link

US sanctions Pak Lashkar man, cites his Samjhauta blast link

Author: Express News Service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: July 3, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-sanctions-pak-lashkar-man-cites-his-samjhauta-blast-link/484480/0

The United States has imposed sanctions on four Pakistan-based terrorists including a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative accused in the 2007 Samjhauta blasts and 2006 Mumbai train bombings, freezing their assets and travel in the US.

Arif Qasmani, chief coordinator and fundraiser for the Lashkar, and three others - Ameen Al-Peshawari, Yahya Mujahid and Nasir Javaid - can't enter into financial transactions in the US, or with a US national.

The US action came two days after the four men were banned by the UN under Resolution 1267, also known as the Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee. The UN ban makes it obligatory for all member nations to freeze funds and assets of proscribed individuals and impose a ban on their travel.

"The designated individuals have provided direct support to Al Qaeda and LeT and... facilitated terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai," said a statement from the US Treasury Department.

Qasmani is known to have links with Dawood Ibrahim, one of India's most wanted criminals now based in Pakistan. The statement said part of the money he received from Dawood was used to finance the train bombings in which close to 200 people were killed.

Qasmani is also said to have provided financial and other support to Al Qaeda leaders, facilitated their movement in and out of Afghanistan, and provided them with weapons and supplies. In return, Al Qaeda provided Qasmani with operatives to support the Mumbai bombings and the Samjhauta attack, the statement said.

Yahya Mujahid is Lashkar's main spokesperson, and the group's media contact. He issued statements on behalf of Lashkar after the Parliament attack in 2001 and last year's terror strikes in Mumbai.

Nasir Javaid is an LeT commander who also trains its cadres.

Ameen Al-Peshawari has recruited fighters and suicide bombers for Al Qaeda, and raised funds and acquired equipment for militants in Afghanistan, the statement said.

"The United States and the United Nations have both targeted these four individuals for supporting Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Toiba. Threats to global security require a global response, and we are gratified to be standing shoulder to shoulder with the UN Security Council as we cut these terrorist supporters off from the international financial system," said Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the US Treasury Department.

In a separate, positive development for India, the US has carved out an India Desk at its National Security Council. Russia is the only other country to be treated in this manner. A senior director at the NSC will handle Washington's strategic relations with New Delhi.

"We have recently done a slight restructuring of the National Security Council whereby Donald Camp has been appointed to be the Senior Director exclusively for India, because we want to put focus on that relationship," NSC spokesman Mike Hammer told PTI.

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