US adds IMU financier, Taliban IED experts to terror list
The US Treasury Department added an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan financier and two Taliban leaders and bomb experts to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
Qari Ayyub Bashir, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan financier; Maulawi Adam Khan Achekzai, an Afghan Taliban leader, bomb maker, and trainer; and Aamir Ali Chaudhry, a Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan explosives and electronics expert, were all added yesterday to the US's list of global terrorists for executing "violent attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan that threaten the lives of civilians and military force," a Treasury Department press release stated.
All three terrorist leaders were designated for supporting or commanding networks that produce improvised explosive devices, the roadside bombs more commonly known as IEDs. In March of this year, the US issued its first terror designation for a Taliban leader involved in the production and deployment of IEDs against US forces in Afghanistan.
"As these designations demonstrate, we will continue to work to dismantle the terrorist support networks operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, paying special attention to those involved in the manufacture of IEDs," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen was quoted as saying in the Treasury press release.
Qari Ayyub Bashir
Treasury described Bashir as being the "head of finance" for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as well as a member of the group's shura, or executive council. In this role, he provides financial and "logistical" support for IMU operations in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and fundraises from outside the region.
"Bashir received funds from sources in Turkey and elsewhere in Europe and delivered these funds" to Fazal Rahim, an IMU facilitator who was designated by the US as a terrorist in September 2011 and is thought to be in Pakistani custody. Rahim was also described as a "financial facilitator for al Qaeda" [see LWJ report, US adds 5 al Qaeda, Taliban, Haqqani Network, and IMU facilitators to terrorist list].
Prior to taking on the role of chief financier for the IMU in 2010, Bashir "led attacks against Afghan police in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, and recruited IMU fighters at his madrassa in Pakistan." Additionally he helped IMU recruits reach their units and commanded "an anti-Coalition militia" in the Afghan provinces of Kunduz and Takhar.
Bashir is an Uzbek national and is based out of Mir Ali, in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. Mir Ali is known to host the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and several other local and foreign terror groups.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a key ally of al Qaeda and the Taliban, and supports operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as plots attacks in Europe. The IMU is known to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and has integrated into the Taliban's shadow government in the north. [For more information on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, see LWJ reports, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan, and IMU announces death of emir, names new leader.]
Maulawi Adam Khan Achekzai
Adam has served as a senior Taliban leader in Afghanistan, according to Treasury. In 2010, he served as the shadow governor for Badghis province, and had previously served as the shadow governor of both Sar-i-Pul and Samangan provinces. He also served as a military commander in Kandahar province and "was involved in organizing suicide attacks in neighboring provinces."
Treasury said that Adam "trained approximately 150 IED makers in support of the Taliban" in 2012. He has served as an IED "manufacturer and facilitator" and also produces suicide vests.
Adam is a deputy of Abdul Samad Achekzai, another senior Taliban IED facilitator who works in southern Afghanistan. Adbul is the first Taliban IED facilitator to have been designated by the US as a terrorist. [See LWJ report, US adds Taliban commander involved in IED, suicide attacks to terrorism list.]
Both Adam and Adbul are very likely members of the Mullah Dadullah Front, the radical Taliban subgroup linked to al Qaeda that operates in southern Afghanistan. Adbul has been linked to attacks that are known to have been carried out by the Mullah Dadullah Front.
The Mullah Dadullah Front is led by Mullah Adbul Qayoum Zakir, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee who has since been promoted as the Taliban's top military commander and co-leader of the Taliban's Quetta Shura. In the past, US military intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal that this subgroup has carried out suicide attacks in Kandahar and Helmand provinces.
Both Adam and Adbul are based in the border town of Chaman in Baluchistan province in Pakistan. The Taliban's leadership is known to be based across the border in Pakistan; Chaman serves as a forward command and control center for Zakir. Many senior and midlevel Taliban leaders operate from Baluchistan, including in Quetta, the provincial capital, and in the border town of Chaman. Pakistan's military and intelligence services have allowed the Taliban to operate from Quetta, Chaman, and other locations in Baluchistan, and they support Taliban operations in Afghanistan.
Aamir Ali Chaudhry
Treasury described Chaudhry as "an electronics and explosives expert for TTP [Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan]." Beginning in 2010, he "advised a TTP facilitator on fertilizer selection for the bomb used in the failed May 2010 attack in New York's Times Square." The Times Square attack failed as the detonator for the car bomb did not work. [For more on the Pakistani Taliban's role in the Times Square plot, see LWJ reports, Pakistani Taliban claim credit for failed NYC Times Square car bombing, and US sees Pakistani Taliban involvement in Times Square attack after downplaying links.]
In addition to being an explosives expert, Chaudhry "manufactured and prepared circuit boards for explosive devices" and was "responsible for TTP's electronic needs with regard to producing landmines and IEDs."
He also worked on a Taliban plot to blow up an airplane as well as use an airplane in an attack, plotted to launch a rocket attack against Pakistan's parliament building, and "was leading TTP's efforts to develop a chemical poison." Additionally, he was involved in the Taliban's media operations, provided "financial and logistical support" to the terror group, and worked to establish TTP branches outside of Pakistan.