“We are targeting operatives who have provided logistical support, improvised explosive devices, and other technological assistance to [al Qaeda], Lashkar-e Tayyiba, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups,” Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement.
Ms. Mandelker also gently prodded the Pakistani government to crack down on the illicit jihadi network, which has operated on Pakistani soil for years. “This is part of this Administration’s broader efforts to disrupt terrorist fundraising, and we call on the Pakistani government and others in the region to work with us to deny sanctuary to these dangerous individuals and organizations,” Mandelker said.
All three of the newly-designated men — Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad, Hizb Ullah Astam Khan and Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan — have worked for Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshwari (also known as Sheikh Aminullah).
Sheikh Aminullah controls the Ganj Madrassa in Peshawar, Pakistan. The religious institution is a hub for several jihadist organizations, including al Qaeda, LeT, and the Taliban. Aminullah, who was designated as a terrorist in 2009, was previously identified as an “al Qaeda facilitator” by the US government. He has provided explosive vests to al Qaeda and Taliban suicide bombers, and also funded the families of the terror groups’ so-called martyrs. In 2011, Aminullah was also reportedly named the head of the Taliban’s Peshawar Regional Military Shura, which is responsible for operations in eastern and northern Afghanistan.
Today’s designations provide new details concerning Aminullah’s activities. Namely, Treasury says the newly-sanctioned trio facilitated Aminullah’s travels to the Gulf on several occasions between 2013 and 2015. It is likely that Aminullah was fundraising during his jaunts abroad.
Like Aminullah, Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad (a.k.a. Rahman Zeb) has worked for Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LeT), a designated terrorist group that was incubated by the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment. Treasury says Zeb “was an LeT operative” who ran the group’s Gulf-based fundraising network “for several years.” In that capacity, Zeb “coordinated” financial transfers “with a Pakistan-based LeT facilitator” in early 2016.
Although LeT is headquartered in Pakistan, and has been especially focused on India, its men have fought and plotted attacks inside Afghanistan as well. And Zeb has allegedly backed these efforts. “As of mid-2014,” Treasury says, Zeb was a long-standing contact of LeT members involved in Afghan operations, and he was involved in business activities with an LeT commander responsible for the group’s operations in Afghanistan.”
The US government ties Hizb Ullah Astam Khan to the jihad in Afghanistan as well. Hizb Ullah has “served as a financial official of a Peshawar-based madrassa that was co-founded by Shaykh Aminullah.” (This is likely a reference to the Ganj Madrassa.) But Hizb Ullah’s role hasn’t been limited to bean counting. He “previously worked for Shaykh Aminullah as an improvised explosive device (IED) expert in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, where he deployed IEDs targeting Afghan and Coalition forces.” Hizb Ullah also helped ship “IED precursor chemicals supplied from Pakistan to Afghanistan for U.S.-designated terrorist groups, including the Taliban and Jama’at ul Dawa al-Qu’ran (JDQ).”
The State Department designated JDQ as a terrorist organization in May 2016, noting it is “based in Peshawar, Pakistan, and eastern Afghanistan” and has “long-standing ties to al Qaeda and Lashkar e-Tayyiba.” In 2010, JDQ announced its fealty to the Taliban.
Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan (Dilawar) is the third and final jihadist designated as a terrorist today. He has served as “Aminullah’s assistant.” Dilawar’s responsibilities have included “handling Aminullah’s accommodations in Pakistan,” “relaying” the ideologue’s “messages,” and facilitating financial transfers. Treasury explains that Dilawar was “one of the leaders of the Ganj Madrassa” in 2013, and he presumably continued in that role in more recent years.
The Treasury Department is using the terror designation process to highlight Pakistan’s ongoing complicity in the jihadists’ operations. In January, Treasury sanctioned six senior Taliban figures. Five of the six are headquartered in Pakistan and the sixth runs a network that stretches into the country. At least two of those jihadists have worked for the Taliban’s Peshawar Shura, which Aminullah reportedly led as of 2011 and 2012.