US adds Haqqani Network, Taliban leaders to list of designated terrorists


naisruddin_i_crop.jpg

Click to view slide show of the Haqqani Network. Pictured is Nasiruddin Haqqani.

The US Treasury Department has added three top Haqqani Network and Taliban leaders to the list of designated terrorists for their support of terror groups in Afghanistan.

Nasiruddin Haqqani, Gul Agha Ishakzai, and Amir Abdullah were designated today as terrorists under Executive Order 13224 for "supporting acts of terrorism and for acting for or on behalf of the Taliban or the Haqqani Network." The designation allows the US to freeze their assets, prevent them from using financial institutions, and prosecute them for terrorist activities.

Nasiruddin is a key financier and "emissary" for the Haqqani Network, and Gul Agha is the Taliban's top financial officer. The third man, Abdullah, served as the treasurer for Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who worked as the deputy for Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, before being detained by Pakistani security forces earlier this year.

Nasiruddin is one of several brothers of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the overall leader of the Haqqani Network as well as the leader of the Miramshah Regional Military Shura, one of the Afghan Taliban's four regional commands. Siraj was designated by the Treasury Department as a terrorist in March 2008; and in March 2009, the State Department put out a bounty of $5 million for information leading to his capture. US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that Siraj is a member of al Qaeda's top council.

According to the Treasury, Nasiruddin has traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates between 2004-2009 to carry out fundraising for the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.

"As of mid-2007, [Nasiruddin] Haqqani reportedly received funding from ­donations from the Gulf region, drug trafficking, and payments from al Qaeda," Treasury stated. "In 2004, he traveled to Saudi Arabia with a Taliban associate to raise funds for the Taliban."

Nasiruddin is based out of Miramshah in the tribal agency of North Waziristan in Pakistan. He is known to speak Arabic and is also a close aide to his father, Jalaluddin, the patriarch of the Haqqani family.

The second person designated in today's order, Gul Agha Ishakzai, "is the head of the Taliban's financial commission and is part of a recently-created Taliban council that coordinates the collection of zakat [an Islamic tax] from Baluchistan Province, Pakistan," Treasury stated. As the Taliban's chief financial officer, Gul Agha "has collected money for suicide attacks in Kandahar, Afghanistan and has been involved in the disbursement of funds for Taliban fighters and their families."

Gul Agha is also a close adviser and confidant of Mullah Omar, the head of the Afghan Taliban. He is a childhood friend of Omar, and once served as his "personal financial secretary." In addition, Gul Agha has facilitated Taliban support from Iran, according to the Treasury. In December 2005, Gul Agha "facilitated the movement of people and goods to Taliban training camps in Iran."

The Taliban are known to receive weapons, sanctuary, and other support from Iran. During a recent airstrike in Farah province, the US military killed Mullah Akhtar, a Taliban commander with close links to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Other Taliban commanders have been directly linked to Iran as well.

The third designee mentioned in today's order, Amir Abdullah, served as Mullah Baradar's personal treasurer and as a senior Taliban fundraiser, and once served as the Taliban's shadow governor for Kandahar province. "Abdullah has traveled to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to fundraise and collect money for the Taliban," Treasury stated.

Abdullah also supports the Quetta Shura's operations in Karachi and helped Taliban commanders flee to safe havens in Pakistan. "In 2001, Abdullah helped many senior Taliban members who fled Afghanistan settle in Pakistan," Treasury reported. "Abdullah also facilitates communications for Taliban leadership and coordinates high-level meetings at the guesthouse of his Karachi residence."

The Taliban are known to have moved elements of their command to Karachi to avoid the potential of the US targeting Quetta in Predator airstrikes. Mullah Omar is thought to be in a safehouse in Karachi, under the protection of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate.

Sources:

Treasury Targets Taliban and Haqqani Network Leadership: Treasury Designates Three Financiers Operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, US Treasury Department press release
The Afghan Taliban's top leaders, The Long War Journal
US places bounty on senior Taliban and al Qaeda leaders, The Long War Journal
The Haqqani Network, The Long War Journal
Taliban confirm Mullah Baradar captured, The Long War Journal



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READER COMMENTS: "US adds Haqqani Network, Taliban leaders to list of designated terrorists "

Posted by Mr T at July 22, 2010 1:39 PM ET:

Follow the money. It is hard to believe that we have been fighting these guys for 10 years and just now getting around to doing this. The Taliban has limited funds also. Disrupting thier money flow and costing them extra money wherever we can should have been going on for a long time.

Whos in charge here?

Posted by Max at July 22, 2010 1:44 PM ET:

"Mullah Omar is thought to be in a safehouse in Karachi, under the protection of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate."

Boom, Boom!! Oops, I didn't know any ISI was in that building (heh, heh). After all, you're supposed to be on our side, right?

Posted by TMP at July 22, 2010 4:51 PM ET:

+1 to Max - That is exactly what should happen to ISI agents caught in the wrong/right place -

As for disrupting the money flow to the Haqqani Network / Pak Taliban.....We have been doing that since early 2000's (where possible) reality is most of their money flow isn't going to be effected by officially designating these guys "terrorists".

Reality is Hek/Haq networks along with AQ #1 and #2 would be more likely in the ground by now if SOF was able to take away Intel/Target selection Ops from CIA/OGAs and bring them in house.

The SOF community has a solution to these individuals...if given the rope to work the Pak border regions....and if HQs were willing to take more risks.....

The notion that things could spiral out of control within Pak if this were to happen is BS! We have given way too much time to Pak / CIA / OGAs...... Hek, Haq and AQ #1/2 clearly can stay outside of our current Intel OODA loop...

Posted by Mr T at July 22, 2010 5:39 PM ET:

As backup to that, we do not kill many HVT's with our drone strikes either. Just sheer luck should net a higher % than we are getting.

Posted by JRP at July 22, 2010 6:03 PM ET:

The misery our troops are suffering on the ground in Afghanistan all because Pakistan is sheltering virtually all the leadership of our enemies is enough to make one sick and certainly turn the stomach of "the greatest generation" warriors who successfully stood up to WWII's challenges.

I commend Hillary Clinton for the single-mindedness with which she has kept her eye on the prize. It seems she is the only one in Government addressing the 800 LB gorilla in the room -- Pakistan!

Posted by Charley at July 22, 2010 8:52 PM ET:

Wouldn't this designation automatically kick-in a process that will lead to designating Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism? Wasn't that the reason this was delayed this long?

Posted by JT at July 22, 2010 11:06 PM ET:

I am one who hears about adding these guys to the money-locking list and thinks, "About time!" Keep the effort of money freezing moving along.

Now if we could only get more states to get on board with serious sanctions against Iran, up to and including a blockade of imported processed petroleum, I could say it again with some relief that maybe Iran won't actually end up with nukes, which every reasonable person says is "unacceptable."

Oh, and then there's North Korea . . . .

Posted by Mr T at July 23, 2010 11:05 AM ET:

Sorry JRP, Hillary is blaming the US for the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thats not really going after Pakistan but feeding them. Not to mention the billions of US dollars she brought in her pocket for them.

Posted by T Ruth at July 23, 2010 2:33 PM ET:

Is this what this war has come to?

Just when its becoming crystal clear that the Taliban, the ISI and the Pak army Establishment are all one.

The Long War may soon be The Long-lost War.

I'm clear, McChrystal knew exactly what he was doing. From his point of view for all the right reasons, not just personally but also on behalf of the US Army as a whole.

Posted by Jimmy at July 23, 2010 11:33 PM ET:

I ask, what is the use of sanctions against Taliban and Haq network when the US itself is the largest cash and weapons donor to these entities?

US gifts billions of dollars of aid and weapons to Pakistan, which it conveniently diverts to its proxy terrorists fighting against India and NATO. That is the reason Pakistan's population is still eating grass and radicalising in Madrassas. Add to that monetary support from America's greatest ally - Saudi Arabia and diplomatic support from world's worst proliferator - China. Sanctions only work if the enemy is squeezed from all sides and made to crawl out of his den. But here it seems the enemy has greater funds and weapons than the good guys!!

What is needed is a comprehensive alliance between US, NATO, EU, Russia, Israel, friendly countries from Middle East and Africa, India, Australasia, South America and East Asia (Japan, S. Korea and Taiwan) to counter Islamic Terrorism and Communism and to protect democracy in the world. Sadly, there are already a lot of fissures in this group of countries, driven by selfish goals, while the enemy is more united...

Posted by Charu at July 24, 2010 1:36 PM ET:

Disrupt the money? We are PAYING the Taliban through our "ally", Pakistan's military, to fight us! Time to put into action the partition of Afghanistan into Pashtun and non-Pashtun regions, followed by the partition of Pakistan into a rump Punjabi state surrounded by Pashtun, Baluch and Sindh states. At the very least put the Pakistanis on notice that there will be payback for their perfidy, and that they will not succeed in the great strategy concocted by the ISI. And if there is no change in behavior within a year, put the division of AfPak in motion.

Posted by jayant at July 27, 2010 1:20 PM ET:

When will the day come when someone is going to say it as it stands: The ISI is killing Americans, day in day out and this has been going on for too darn long too!

The Taliban leadership and AQ leadership has survived this long and continues to do so thanks primarily to the ISI and pakistani military.