The US treasury department has announced new sanctions on five individuals it said are linked to “the most dangerous terrorist organisations operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan”.
As a result of the action, US companies and individuals are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the targeted individuals and any assets they hold under US jurisdiction are frozen.
“These financiers and facilitators provide the fuel for the Taliban, Haqqani network and al-Qaeda to realise their violent aspirations,” David Cohen, treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement on Thursday.
The group includes Abdul Aziz Abbasin, who the treasury department described as a “key commander in the Haqqani Network”, which is headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani and accused of a series of brazen attacks, such as the major offensive on key military and diplomatic targets in Kabul in mid-September.
“Abbasin commands a group of Taliban fighters and has assisted in running a training camp for foreign fighters in Paktika Province, and also has been involved in ambushing supply vehicles of Afghan government forces and the transport of weapons to Afghanistan,” the treasury department statement said.
Also targeted was Haiji Faizullah Khan Noorzai, who the statement said was a prominent Taliban financier, and his brother, Haiji Malik Noorzai, a Pakistan-based businessman.
The two have invested “millions of dollars in various businesses for the Taliban”.
The treasury department also designated Abdur Rehman, who the US treasury department described as Taliban facilitator and fundraiser, and Fazal Rahim, who it said was a financial facilitator for al-Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
The sanctions announcement came as Pakistan’s intelligence chief denied, in a statement to the Reuters news agency, the US accusations that the country supports the Haqqani group.
“There are other intelligence networks supporting groups who operate inside Afghanistan,” Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha said.
“We have never paid a penny or provided even a single bullet to the Haqqani network.”
The denial followed a rare meeting of Pakistan’s many political parties in Islamabad earlier on Thursday.
Recent comments by US officials have suggested that the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate maintains links with the Haqqani network.
During his remarks to the US Senate Arms Services Committee on September 22, Admiral Michael Mullen, the head of the US joint chiefs of staff, accused the Haqqani network of being a “veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Agency”.