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U.S., Gulf States Blacklist Afghan Taliban, Iranian Officers For Terrorist Financing

FILE: Former Taliban militants surrender their weapons during a reconciliation ceremony in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
FILE: Former Taliban militants surrender their weapons during a reconciliation ceremony in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

A seven-country group set up to combat the international financing of terrorists has blacklisted nine individuals associated with Afghanistan’s Taliban, including two Iranian military officers and several men accused of “facilitating Iranian support to bolster the terrorist group.”

The announcementby the U.S. Treasury Department on October 23 says the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC) blacklisted the individuals in order to “expose and disrupt [the] Taliban…and their Iranian sponsors that seek to undermine the security of the Afghan government.”

Other TFTC member countries joining the action include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on October 23 that the blacklist targets “Taliban members who are involved in suicide attacks, and other lethal activities.”

“We are also targeting key Iranian sponsors providing financial and material support to the Taliban,” Mnuchin said. “Iran’s provision of military training, financing, and weapons to the Taliban is yet another example of Tehran’s blatant regional meddling and support for terrorism.”

Mnuchin said Iran’s support to the Taliban “epitomizes the regime’s utter disregard for fundamental international norms.”

The assets of those on the blacklist are to be frozen in the United States and the six Gulf states that are members of the TFTC.

Two officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps's Quds Force -- Muhammad Ebrahim Owhadi and Esmail Razavi -- were designated on the list.

Six senior members of the Afghan Taliban on the blacklist are Abdullah Samad Faroqui, Mohammad Daoud Muzzamil, Abdul Rahim Manan, Naim Barich, Sadr Ibrahim, and Hafiz Majid.

Businessman Abdul Aziz, described by the U.S. Treasury Department as “a Pakistan-based narcotics trafficker,” was blacklisted on allegations of setting up international firms to carry out illegal smuggling operations that finance the Pakistan-based Taliban -- including the Quetta-based leadership of Afghan Taliban known as the Quetta Shura.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on October 23 added Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and senior officers from its Quds Force to their lists of people and organizations suspected of involvement in terrorism.

Saudi security services said Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, was on the list together with Quds Force officers Hamed Abdollahi and Abdul Reza Shahlai.

In 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the three amid allegations that Soleimani, Abdollahi, and Shahlai were linked to a failed plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir.

Jubeir is now the Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister.

Iran at the time dismissed the accusations as false and demanded an apology from Washington.

The terrorist listing of the three IRGC officers is separate from the blacklisting of nine individuals on October 23 by the United States and six Gulf countries in the TFTC.