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US bans Jaish & Lashkar; labels them as terrorists

US bans Jaish & Lashkar; labels them as terrorists

Publication: The Economic Times
Date: November 4, 2001

The US has banned two Pakistan-based terrorist groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir, conceding one of India's major demands four days before the arrival of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which have been blamed for several terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, have been branded Foreign Terrorist Organisations (PTO) in the US.

Secretary of state Colin Powell, on Friday, accepted a recommendation by US attorney general John Ashcroft, to designate 22 groups, including the LeT and JeM as PTO, calling upon US financial institutions to freeze their assets. In America, it would now be illegal for anyone to offer them arty kind of support. Six groups are already in this category. Indian ambassador Lalit Mansingh welcomed the long awaited development.

JeM had initially, taken responsibility for the car bomb explosion in front of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly in Srinagar on October 1, in which 38 people were killed. But it later withdrew responsibility, reportedly following pressure from Pakistan. Mr Vajpayee, who arrives here Wednesday, had written to President George W Bush, drawing his attention to the incident. India has long been demanding that LeT and JeM be banned. An official release said to further the campaign against global terrorism, the secretary of state, in consultation with the secretary of treasury and the attorney general, took this step under Executive Order 13224, which Bush signed on September 23 to facilitate US efforts to stop the flow of money to terrorist groups.

Although the US government had already blocked any assets in this country directly linked to these groups, the FTO designation now provides the authority to act against individuals and organizations associated with them. Bush has made clear that the US is engaged in a war against the scourge of terrorism. 'It is an unfortunate fact that al-Qaeda is not the only terrorist organization. All 28 terrorist groups designated by the FTO. maintain networks around the world and fie these networks to facilitate deliberate acts of violence against innocent persons to further their nefarious designs,' it said. - IANS

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