Washington, July 23 (IANS) The United States has imposed sanctions on three prominent members of the Taliban and its affiliated Pakistan-based Haqqani Network "for supporting acts of terrorism".
Those targeted for sanctions by the US Treasury Department Thursday are Gul Agha Ishakzai, the head of the Taliban's financial commission; Amir Abdullah, former treasurer to senior Taliban leader Mullah Baradar; and Nasiruddin Haqqani.
The Haqqani Network is based in Waziristan, one of Pakistan's remote tribal areas, and has recently been identified by US officials as one of the most effective and dangerous insurgent groups.
It is led by Nasiruddin Haqqani's brother and has been blamed for several bomb attacks in Kabul in the last year. The Treasury Department says Nasiruddin has made several trips to the United Arab Emirates to raise money for the Taliban.
US officials say Gul Agha Ishakzai is the head of the Taliban's financial commission and belongs to a council in Balochistan, Pakistan that coordinates the collection of money. He is thought to be a close adviser to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
According to a United Nations list, Amir Abdullah has travelled to the Gulf and Libya raising funds for the Taliban. He has served as treasurer to senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Berader and was the former deputy to the Taliban governor of Kandahar Province.
The sanctions freeze the US-held assets of the three men and prohibit any financial transactions with them by US citizens.
The designation "builds upon Treasury's longstanding efforts to deprive these extremists of the resources they need to execute their violent activities," said Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
In a televised round table with journalists in Pakistan this week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the Haqqani network is behind many of the deadly attacks on US troops and Afghans in Afghanistan.
"This is not one of the groups that is sitting on the sidelines," Clinton said. "They're deeply involved in what's going on in Afghanistan, and they take credit for some devastating attacks within Afghanistan. So clearly, they're a terrorist organization, and they are killing Afghans, Americans and others who are part of the international coalition."