Chidanand Rajghatta | TNN
In an unprecedented move, the US treasury department announced that Washington and Riyadh jointly taken action to disrupt the fundraising and support networks of al-Qaida, the Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT) by imposing sanctions on four individuals and two organizations with ties across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
“From terrorizing local populations to exploiting charities and religious institutions, al-Qaida, the Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Taiba have a long history of inflicting violence on Americans and our allies throughout South Asia and the Middle East,” said Adam Szubin, acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. “Today’s action marks yet another step in Treasury’s efforts to financially cripple terrorist financiers and demonstrates the United States’ and Saudi Arabia’s shared resolve to target those who support terrorism.”
Among the individuals sanctioned are LeT operatives Naveed Qamar, Abdul Aziz Nuristani, and Mohammed Ejaz Safarash, the last of whom the treasury department said bankrolled Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, who India says was one of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack planners.
The announcement comes as a huge embarrassment for Pakistan, which is already under the gun for its dodgy nuclear weapons policy that is putting mini-nukes in the hands of field commanders, allowing the possibility of a battlefield heist by terrorists and rogue commanders. Islamabad has sent only a token representation to the ongoing nuclear security summit in Washington, as the civilian government there appears locked in a turf battle with the military establishment that is trying to portray India as fomenting terrorism in Baluchistan.
But the treasury notification unsparingly shines the light on the wide support that terrorists enjoy in Pakistan, including from its business community. In providing details about Naveed Qamar, an influential LeT leader who headed its student wing, periodical departments and also edited its Al Dawa magazine, Washington says in early 2013, Qamar led a group of Pakistani businessmen to an LeT training camp for an orientation program on LeT’s operations, after which they donated and pledged support of the group.
“As of early 2011, Qamar organized trips for businessmen to LeT training camps to show how their funds were used. In 2010, Qamar also organized and attended meetings with businessmen from Karachi, Pakistan, in order to collect funds and appeal for donations for LeT militant operations. In that same year, Qamar coordinated funds collected by senior members of Falah-e Insaniat Foundation (FIF) – a US and UN designated Lashkar-affiliated NGO – while organizing logistics and funding for mujahidin attack planning against Indian targets,” the treasury department notification reveals.
It now appears that Pakistan may have known of the impending designation while virtually boycotting the nuclear meet, citing the Lahore bombing as an excuse. Modi is scheduled to leave for Riyadh on Friday evening after the nuclear meet, having arrived in Washington after a stopover in Belgium for an India-Europe meet.
Pakistan’s song-and-dance about an alleged Indian spy in Balochistan also appears aimed at deflecting attention from the embarrassment of having its patron states call it out on terrorism.
“First, today’s terrorism uses extreme violence as theatre. Second, we are no longer looking for a man in a cave, but we are hunting for a terrorist in a city with a computer or a smart phone. Third, State actors working with nuclear traffickers and terrorists present the greatest risk,” he said.
“The reach and supply chains of terrorism are global; but genuine cooperation between nation states is not,” he added. He made no mention of Pakistan. Didn’t need to.