The United States has designated three top leaders of the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), blamed for the Mumbai terrorist attacks, as global terrorists and slapped sanctions on one of its affiliates. The move came on the eve of the second anniversary of the 26/11 assault.
The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the US Attorney-General, has amended the designation of LeT by adding Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as an alias of LeT, the State Department announced Wednesday.
The Department of the Treasury also designated LeT senior leader and current head of FIF, Hafiz Abdur Rauf, Mian Abdullah, the head of LeT's traders department, and Mohmmad Naushad Alam Khan, a key financial facilitator for LeT, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
"These actions will help stem the flow of finances to LeT through FIF and provide the Department of Justice with a critical tool to prosecute those who knowingly provide material support to LeT and its senior leaders," the State department said.
FIF is a Pakistan-based organization that is closely connected to banned terrorist group LeT and its humanitarian front Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD).
LeT has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Pakistani, Indian and US interests and is responsible for the horrific November 2008 Mumbai attacks, it said.
The United Nations and Government of Pakistan have already banned JUD, through which LeT seeks to raise money for terrorist activities, the department said noting, "In essence, FIF is JUD with a new name, designed to evade scrutiny and sanctions."
The various actions taken Wednesday against FIF support the US effort to degrade the capabilities of LeT, it said. "We are determined to eliminate LeT's ability to carry out terrorist attacks and to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat its networks."
The Department of State's Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Daniel Benjamin, said "Today's amendment of the LeT designation to include FIF shows that the United States will not tolerate any support to this organization.
"LeT has attempted to use FIF as a way to evade scrutiny. This designation will help put to an end that attempted evasion."