The US on Wednesday named Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), responsible for a 2009 attack on its military base in Afghanistan, a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and posted cash rewards for the arrest of its top two leaders.
"These actions will help stem the flow of finances to TTP," said state department coordinator for counter-terrorism Robert Benjamin, adding, "and provide … a critical tool to prosecute those who knowingly provide material support to TTP and its senior leaders." He said, "The TTP and Al Qaeda have a symbiotic relationship. TTP draws ideological guidance from Al Qaeda, while Al Qaeda relies on the TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border." The Emir of Pakistani Taliban
The US holds TTP responsible for the January 2009 attack on its military base in Khost, Afghanistan, which killed seven CIA personnel, and a suicide bombing on its Peshawar consulate in April 2010 killing, four Pakistanis. And also for Faisal Shahzad’s bombing attempt at the Times Square.
The US also put out a bounty of $5 million each for TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who took over only months ago after the death of Baitullah Mehsud in a drone strike, and its West Waziristan Emir Wali Ur Rehman.
The US has also registered a case against Hakimullah Mehsud charging him with conspiracy to murder US citizens abroad and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction for the Khost attack. In Pakistan, the outfit is blamed for many of the biggest recent terrorist strikes, including the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and attacks on security establishments.
Other Pakistan-based outfits designated terrorist organisation by the US are Lashkar-i-Tayyeba, Harkat ul Mujahideen, Harkat ul Jihad Islami and Lashkar i Jhangvi.
Pak Taliban chief in US sights
The United States charged “the self-proclaimed emir of the Pakistani Taliban” Hakimullah Mehsud with terrorism on Wednesday over the murder of seven Americans at a CIA base in Afghanistan in December 2009.
Young, energetic and with a penchant for the limelight, Hakimullah took the helm of the TTP after winning a bitter leadership struggle after a US drone attack killed the faction's founder, Baitullah Mehsud.
Washington also offered a reward of up to $5 million for information on his whereabouts while adding his TTP to a blacklist of foreign terrorist groups.
Under his leadership, the Al-Qaeda linked TTP has killed more than 3,600 people in violence unleashed against soldiers, government officials and civilians since government troops besieged a radical mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.