US adds Taliban hawala, owner, and commander to terrorist list

The US Treasury Department has added a Taliban hawala, or money exchange, that is based in Pakistan, its owner, and a Taliban commander to the US list of global terrorists and entities. The designations are part of the US government’s effort to target the Taliban’s financial network.

The Treasury designation, which was released today, added the Basir Zarjmil Hawala and its owner Haji Abdul Basir, along with a Taliban commander known as Qari Rahmat to the US government’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

The Basir Zarjmil Hawala and Haji Abdul Basir

The Basir Zarjmil Hawala “is based in Chaman, Balochistan Province, Pakistan,” Treasury stated in its designation. Chaman, a Pakistani city that borders Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, is known as a forward command hub for the Taliban operating in Afghanistan. Top commanders are known to live in Chaman and direct operations in Afghanistan from the city. [See LWJ report, Senior Taliban commander based in Pakistan detained in Kandahar.] Pakistani officials routinely look the other way as the Taliban conduct their business in Chaman and elsewhere in Pakistan.

“Taliban senior leaders in Quetta, Balochistan Province, Pakistan, and Chaman have preferred to transfer money to Taliban commanders through the Basir Zarjmil Hawala and the Haji Khairullah Haji Sattar hawala, which the Treasury Department and the United Nations sanctioned in June 2012,” Treasury stated. [See LWJ report, US Treasury targets money exchanges, owners, for funding Taliban, for more information on the Haji Khairullah Haji Sattar hawala.]

Treasury stated that the Basir Zarjmil Hawala “distributed thousands of dollars to Taliban commanders in Chaman, and in 2012 it conducted thousands of dollars in transactions related to weapons and other operational expenses for the Taliban.” Additionally the hawala has “made use of Pakistani banks to provide money to Taliban members.”

Basir, the hawala owner, has “transferred money to Taliban elders, and facilitated the travel of Taliban informants to Afghanistan, “[i]n addition to running the money exchange and serving as “the principal money exchanger for Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan.”

Qari Rahmat

Rahmat, who “has been a Taliban commander since at least February 2010,” is now the Taliban’s leader in Achin district in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. He commands an estimated 300 fighters.

As part of his duties, he has directed attacks again the Afghan government and security forces as well as Coalition forces. He has served as a “facilitator who emplaced improvised explosive devices,” and he “collects taxes and bribes on behalf of the Taliban,” “provided lethal aid, housing, and guidance to Taliban fighters,” and “provides intelligence information to the Taliban.”

US has targeted Taliban’s financial network in Pakistan in the past

Treasury’s designation of the Basir Zarjmil Hawala and its owner are part of an effort by the US government to shut down the Taliban’s financial support network that is based in Pakistan.

In February of this year, the US added Saidullah Jan and Yahya Haqqani, two senior leaders in the Haqqani Network, a Taliban subgroup, to the terrorism list for providing financial support to the Taliban and al Qaeda. Both Haqqani Network leaders traveled to the Gulf States to raise funds for the Taliban [See LWJ report, US adds 3 senior Haqqani Network leaders to terrorism list.]

In November 2012, the US added Rahat Ltd., a Pakistan-based hawala, and its owner, Mohammed Qasim, along with the owner and manager of the Quetta, Pakistan branch, Musa Kalim, to the list of global terrorist and entities. [See LWJ report, US adds Pakistani hawala, 2 Taliban financiers to terrorism list.]

And in June 2012, the US added the Haji Khairullah Haji Sattar Money Exchange (HKHS) and the Roshan Money Exchange (RMX), and the owners of HKHS, Haji Abdul Sattar Barakzai and Haji Khairullah Barakzai, to the terrorism list for supporting the Taliban. Both exchanges operate in Afghanistan and Pakistan. [See LWJ report, US Treasury targets money exchanges, owners, for funding Taliban.]

In April 2012, the US designated Mohammed Mazhar, the director of the Al Akhtar Trust, and Mufti Abdul Rahim, the leader of the Al Rashid Trust, for supporting al Qaeda and the Taliban. Both the Al Akhtar Trust and the Al Rashid Trust have provided material support to al Qaeda and the Taliban. [See LWJ report, US designates 2 Pakistanis for running al Qaeda and Taliban charitable front groups.]

In September 2011, the US designated Hajji Faizullah Khan Noorzai and his brother Hajji Malik Noorzai for aiding the Taliban. Treasury described Malik as “a Pakistan-based businessman who, with his brother Faizullah, has invested millions of dollars in various businesses for the Taliban.” Faizullah’s address is listed as Chaman. [See LWJ report, US adds 5 al Qaeda, Taliban, Haqqani Network, and IMU facilitators to terrorist list.]

Pakistan has done little to crack down on the Taliban and Haqqani Network financiers, who often work openly inside the country.

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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