Pakistan denounces US terrorism designation of Hizbul Mujahideen chief

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs objected to the United States’ designation of Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist and claimed the country “has a demonstrated and longstanding commitment of combating terrorism.”

While not mentioning Salahuddin specifically, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement was released one day after the US Department of State added him to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

“The designation of individuals supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists is completely unjustified,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

However, as FDD’s Long War Journal has noted in a profile of Salahuddin, he has admitted to raising funds to wage jihad in Afghanistan and India, and has supported fighting US forces inside Afghanistan. Additionally, Salahuddin has close ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba and its charitable front, Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Both groups are recognized as foreign terrorist organizations and are supported by the Pakistani state. Salahaddin has admitted that the Pakistani military has allowed him to operate “hundreds of training camps.” [See US adds emir of Hizbul Mujahideen to list of global terrorists.]

Pakistan has supported a bevy of jihadist groups as it seeks to wrest control of Jammu and Kashmir from Indian control. These groups have launched numerous suicide attacks inside India and have allied with terrorists groups such as the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

While denouncing the designation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that “Pakistan has a demonstrated and longstanding commitment of combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”

This is contrary to everything that is known about Pakistan. The military and the Inter-Services Intelligence Service Directorate (ISI) actively supports groups such as the Afghan Taliban and its powerful subgroup, the Haqqani Network. The Taliban’s leadership is based in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, and other cities and towns across the country. Taliban leaders openly recruit, indoctrinate and train fighters to wage jihad against US and Coalition forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan banks and ‘hawalas,’ or money exchanges, knowingly provide financial services for the Taliban. Pakistani politicians and clerics support the Taliban and train their fighters at their madrassas.

Pakistani military and intelligence officials have knowingly passed along intelligence to Taliban, al Qaeda and other terrorist leaders and operatives to allow them to avoid being targeted in raids.

Pakistan remains a primary hub for international terrorist groups. Of the 59 groups listed by the US State Department as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, 12 are based in Pakistan, and two others (Harakat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh and the Indian Mujahedeen) are directly linked to groups supported by the Pakistani state .

Terrorists groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harakat-ul-Mujahideen operate openly inside Pakistan, without fear of reprisal from the state. Lashkar-e-Taiba, which executed the deadly suicide operation in Mumbai, India that killed 164 people, is listed by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Its leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who is listed by the US as a specially designated global terrorist, is feted by Pakistani military commanders and politicians, and is a regular on television shows. Markaz-e-Taiba, its headquarters in Muridke near Lahore, is a sprawling complex that is used to indoctrinate future jihadists before they are sent off for military training. The provincial government of Punjab has financed Markaz-e-Taiba in the past.

Harakat-ul-Mujahideen another Pakistan-based jihadist group that has been listed by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Its emir, Fazle-ur-Rahman Khalil, is also named by the US as a specially designated global terrorist. He lives in Islamabad, with the knowledge of the Pakistani government. In an update to the US designation of HuM in 2014, the US noted that it “operates in Pakistan, and engages in terrorist activity in Kashmir, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan” and “also operates terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan.” These camps are thought to be in existence to this day.

Pakistan’s intransigence towards jihadist groups has not escaped the attention of the US government. In its Country Reports on Terrorism 2015, the State Department issued a scathing rebuke of Pakistan’s failure to police jihadist groups in the region.

“Pakistan did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or HQN, or substantially limit their ability to threaten US interests in Afghanistan,” the report noted.

“Pakistan has also not taken sufficient action against other externally-focused groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which continued to operate, train, organize, and fundraise in Pakistan,” State continued. Additionally, State noted that groups continue to fundraise without consequence and Hafiz Saeed “was able to make frequent public appearances in support of the organization’s objectives,” without Pakistan raising a finger to stop him.

For more information on Pakistan’s collusion with terrorist groups, see Pakistan: Friend or Foe in the Fight Against Terrorism?, Bill Roggio’s testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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7 Comments

  • Nazir Hussain says:

    America has shot itself in the foot. Its legitimacy as world leader has been diluted. Its respect for UN system has been put in doubt. How will it seek Pakistan cooperation on Afghanistan?. What happens when it intervenes in Iran?.
    And what will it get from Modi and India. Almost Zero. This has happened in past when US helped India with unilateral exemption in nuclear technology field. American firms did not get a supply order for a single dollar.

  • Mutty says:

    The 12 Million Kashmiri muslims would be pleased to see US siding with India. 🙂

  • den says:

    If it wasn’t so dam serious and so many lives weren’t at stake…I would laugh myself to sleep over this Pakistani response! !!! I wonder as well,..maybe we invaded the wrong country! Pakistan is nothing more than a failed state with nuclear bombs! One can only hope India and America will rid the world of this IGNORANT TERRORIST SAFE-HAVEN.! They don’t even hardly try to hide their mal-aligned intentions. ROBUST..REVENGE is coming your way.

  • James says:

    If anything, this only bears out what I’ve been saying all along. We (the US) need to work with (in unison with) India’s intelligence services in tackling this problem. Pakistan may not like it but oh well, too bad. India is literally the “elephant in the room”; at least in that region of the world

    The best way to get it at least started (if it’s not being done already, hopefully it is) is for US to work surreptitiously (behind the scenes) with India’s intelligence services. The more regional countries (or entities) we get involved in this, the better.

    Many commentators on these boards seem to fail to take into account that the Taliban is not a nationalist movement, it is a religious and regional movement that extends far beyond just the borders of Afghanistan. It should be no wonder why the Afghan government could never take it on alone. How much of a typical Taliban unit that is in fact foreign-sourced is a question that should have been posed long ago.

    They have made it clear over and over again, that according to their radical interpretation of Islam, there are no borders. Like it or not, this isn’t just limited to Afghanistan.

  • Lars says:

    Pakistan as a whole believes in the book that says the earth is flat and everyone that do not believe in the book should be killed as if the Creator doesn’t know that he is doing at all but these stone agers do. Everyone of these upon dying goes to straight to hell where their M is being tortured to no end.

  • Abdul Ali says:

    Rubbish. Pakistan has no ties with Taliban. Pakistan is itself facing terrorism and suffered more than any other countries. This is because of being allied to war on terror. Even its allies had never accepted this fact rather they denounced Pakistan on the basis of baseless allegations.

  • Mark Adkins says:

    Reportedly, Pakistan is now recruiting some Taliban into “pro-government” militias, to defend villages against other Islamist groups and to spy on the locals:

    http://www.irinnews.org/investigations/2017/07/03/exclusive-pakistan-recruiting-taliban-fighters-pro-government-militias

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