Excuse to Expand the War?: US adds Pakistani Taliban to terrorism blacklist

Matthew Lee
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Wednesday added the Pakistani Taliban to its international terrorism blacklist, targeting the group blamed for the failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square and its leaders with financial and travel sanctions.

The group, known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban or TTP, threatens U.S. national security, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a notice published in the Federal Register. She designated the group a “foreign terrorist organization” under U.S. law.

In addition, Clinton named the group and its top leaders, Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali Ur Rehman, “specially designated global terrorists,” a classification that imposes additional State and Treasury department sanctions.

Each has “committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States,” she said in the notice.

The move will freeze any assets the group and its leaders may have in U.S. jurisdictions, makes it illegal for Americans to provide funding or material support to them and bars them from entering the United States.

The determinations were made on August 12 but did not take effect until their publication on Wednesday in the Federal Register, giving authorities time to determine what, if any, assets the group and its members may have in U.S. jurisdictions.

Lawmakers have been pushing for the sanctions since earlier this year when Pakistani-born American Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty to the attempted May 1 Times Square bombing. Shahzad said he trained with the Pakistani Taliban to build bombs, then returned to the United States to launch an attack that would avenge attacks on Muslims by U.S. forces overseas.

U.S. officials had for some time been reviewing the designations, which require the group to meet specific criteria.

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