The US Treasury Department has designated two Pakistanis as terrorists for using charitable front organizations to funnel money to al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Karachi-based terrorists have not been detained by the Pakistani government, despite providing open support for the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other terror groups.
Mohammed Mazhar, the director of the Al Akhtar Trust, and Mufti Abdul Rahim, the leader of the Al Rashid Trust, have been designated as terrorists under Executive Order 13224 for “providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.” The designation allows the US to freeze their assets, prevent them from using financial institutions, and prosecute them for terrorist activities.
Mohammed Mazhar is described as a “long-standing supporter of al Qaeda” and has funneled millions of dollars to the terror group through the Al Akhtar Trust, which he renamed the Pakistan Relief Foundation. Mazhar renamed the Al Akhtar Trust as the Pakistan Relief Foundation in 2007 after Pakistan closed its offices in Karachi. The US designated the charity a terrorist entity in October 2003.
In his previous positions as the chairman and president, and currently as chief executive officer of Al Akhtar, Mazhar “has led the trust’s fundraising activities and provided financial and other support to al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other militant groups.”
Mazhar has “personally given large donations to al Qaeda senior leader Osama bin Laden,” the US Treasury stated. He has also received “sizeable amounts of money from unidentified sources in the Gulf region to pass to al Qaeda operatives fighting in Afghanistan, and frequently provided money to families of injured al Qaeda members.” The wealthy Persian Gulf donors from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are often referred to as the Golden Chain.
Mazhar also supports the Taliban by funding a madrassa in Baluchistan, Pakistan. At this madrassa, instructors “trained Taliban recruits to perform combat operations in Afghanistan.” According to the Treasury Department, Mazhar also led a Taliban group that fought against Coalition and Afghan forces inside Afghanistan. Mazhar has not been detained by the Pakistani security services, despite his ongoing support for the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Mufti Abdul Rahim has been the leader of the Al Rashid Trust since 2002. The Al Rashid Trust was designated a terrorist entity by the US Treasury in September 2001, and has used multiple aliases to remain in business.
Rahim has been implicated by the Treasury as being “a key supporter of Taliban operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan and had coordinated Taliban facilitation activities with al-Akhtar Trust leader Mohammed Mazhar.” He receives “numerous senior Taliban visitors at his madrassa in Karachi” and is known to have disbursed funds directly to Taliban leaders. Like Mazhar, Rahim has not been detained by Pakistani security forces despite his support of for the Taliban.
Both the Al Akhtar Trust and the Al Rashid Trust have provided material support to al Qaeda and the Taliban. In October 2003, the US Treasury stated that the Al Akhtar Trust “was secretly treating wounded al Qaeda members at the medical centers it was operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” while both groups “were the primary relief agencies that al Qaeda used to move supplies into Kandahar, Afghanistan.”
Hakeem Mohammed Akhtar, the founder of the Al Akhtar Trust, has openly admitted his links to the Taliban and Mullah Omar. Akhtar said that the charity’s “services for the Taliban and Mullah Omar were known to the world.” Al Akhtar Trust also provides “a wide range of support to al Qaeda and Pakistani based sectarian and jihadi groups, specifically Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” three prominent Pakistani terror groups allied with al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.