WASHINGTON: The United States has included the Islamic State’s (IS) affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan – IS-Khorasan – in its newest terror watch-list, slapping sanctions against major IS leaders and financial figures.
On Tuesday, the State Department issued a press release, designating 10 individuals and five groups, and amending the designations of two additional groups as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The Treasury Department also announced sanctions against 15 IS figures, including supporters and facilitators. The ultra-orthodox, Middle Eastern militant outfit, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has established a self-proclaimed caliphate over large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria. Their reign of terror has attracted widespread criticism and military action by a US-led coalition.
IS-Khorasan’s formation was announced in an online video on January 10. The group is led by former Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Hafiz Saeed Khan, and consists of former Pakistani and Afghan Taliban faction commanders.
The militants swore an oath of allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. On January 26, IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani announced IS’s expansion into Khorasan by reporting that Baghdadi had accepted Khan’s pledge and appointed him the regional governor.
The latest list includes groups and individuals from Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and other countries, including three French nationals and four Britons – a move US officials said demonstrated the global threat the group poses.
A senior official in the Obama administration said the fight against IS was a global fight and that made not only US actions important but also actions by UN and other countries around the world.
The announcement came as dozens of international leaders gathered for a summit focusing on the IS threat on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. The IS-Caucasus Province announced on June 23 has also been put on the terror watch-list. …Agencies