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Indian Citizen Yahya Farooq Mohammad in US pleads guilty to Financing to Al Qaeda leader in Yemen

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Indian Citizen Yahya Farooq
A group related to Al Qaeda (representational Image), VOA
  • Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support or resources to terrorists
  • Mohammad, who married an American citizen in 2008, faces over 27 years in prison and deportation if convicted
  • Al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born cleric, was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011

Washington, July 11, 2017: An Indian citizen in the US has pleaded guilty to funneling thousands of dollars to an Al Qaeda leader in Yemen and trying to orchestrate the killing of a judge, federal prosecutors said.

Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support or resources to terrorists and one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence, the Justice Department said in a statement on Monday.

Mohammad, who married an American citizen in 2008, faces over 27 years in prison and deportation if convicted, the statement said.

“He is a dangerous criminal who deserves a long prison sentence,” said David A. Sierleja, the Acting US Attorney for northern Ohio.

Mohammad, who studied engineering at Ohio State University from 2002 to 2004, was one of four people arrested in 2015 and charged with plotting to travel to Yemen to provide $22,000 to former Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki years earlier, NBC News reported.

Al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born cleric, was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

Mohammad also admitted offering $15,000 to an undercover Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) agent to kidnap and kill US District Judge Jack Zouhary, who was overseeing his terrorism case, the Justice Department said.

ALSO READ: Here is how London Moves Quickly to tackle Muslim Tensions related to Terrorism!

He had been introduced to the undercover agent by another inmate at the Lucas County Corrections Centre in Toledo.

Mohammad allegedly arranged for the money to be paid to the undercover FBI agent through his wife in Chicago. She gave the agent an envelope containing a $1,000 cash down payment in April 2016, the indictment said.

The undercover employee in May 2016 showed Mohammad’s wife a photo of what was purported to be the judge’s dead body and informed her that “the photograph was the matter that he was to conduct for her husband”.

The other men arrested with Mohammad in 2015 were awaiting trial. (IANS)

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US Shares List of 20 Terrorist Groups Operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan with Pakistani Authorities

Top on the list is the Haqqani Network which, the US claims, has safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan.

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According to media reports, US has shared list of terror groups operating in Pakistan with authorities in Islamabad. Wikimedia

Washington, November 2, 2017 : The White House retains a list of 20 terrorist groups that it claims are operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan and is believed to have shared this list with Islamabad, the media reported on Thursday.

However, the list was not given to Pakistani authorities by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he visited Islamabad last week, diplomatic sources told Dawn news.

The White House list includes three types of militant groups: those who launch attacks into Afghanistan, those who attack targets inside Pakistan and those who are focused on Kashmir.

Top on the list is the Haqqani Network which, the US claims, has safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan.

Pakistan strongly rejects the charge, saying that there were no such safe havens inside the country.

The US also identified Lashkar-e-Taiba as one of the largest and most active terrorist organisations in South Asia.

The other militant groups in the list include Harakatul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Jundullah, Lashkar-i-Jhanghvi and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. (IANS)

 

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Pakistan’s Northwest Province Struggles To Fight Against Terror Financing

Despite its continued efforts against terrorism, terror financing remains a challenge for Pakistan due to political resistance, sympathizers and money trails that are hard to track, analysts say.

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Terror Financing
Terror Financing. Pixabay

Pakistan’s restive northwest province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has issued directives to its administrative and security departments to make serious efforts to cut off the money supply of banned terror groups.

The provincial departments have been instructed to devise a strategy to crack down and to closely monitor the proscribed groups and individuals involved in raising funds illegally for welfare or religious purposes, Pakistani media reported.

Despite its continued efforts against terrorism, terror financing remains a challenge for Pakistan due to political resistance, sympathizers and money trails that are hard to track, analysts say.

 

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“Pakistan will have to come up with a strategy to freeze assets of terror groups, make it difficult for terrorists to gather funds, but to also spot those who’ve adopted new identities and have re-established their networks,” A. Z. Hilali, head of political science department at the Peshawar University told VOA.

Suspect groups identified

The official document circulated by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government emphasized banned groups are not allowed to gather money “under any circumstances” and security forces and the administration should ensure people and groups raising money for mosques, charity or madrassas (religious seminaries) are lawfully doing so.

In 2015, Pakistan banned around 200 terror groups after establishing their involvement in sectarian and terrorism related activities against the state.

Pakistan had also frozen around $3 million worth of assets of 5,000 suspected terrorists last year. “We will make every possible effort to implement National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terror financing in our province,” Shaukat Yousafzai, spokesperson for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government told VOA.

“We’re the biggest victim of terrorism and we do not want them [terrorists] to succeed. We’ll also work to start awareness programs so that banned groups can be prohibited from gathering funds from the masses,” Yousafzai said.

A report issued by the Financial Monitoring Unit of Pakistan in March estimated the annual operational budget of terrorist organizations is $48,000 to $240,000.

The terror groups in Pakistan generate hefty amounts through charity and welfare work, receive huge foreign donations and use the “hawala system,” an alternative finance system, used for money laundering, experts say.

Also Read: US has given Pakistan $265 million to fight terror: US State Department report.

National plan

Pakistan’s National Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy aimed at eliminating extremism mentions the state should “choke financing for terrorist and terrorist organizations.”

Hilali says there is a need to introduce legislation to prohibit collection of funds from the general public. “Terrorists collect large sums of money especially during the holy month of Ramadan under the guise of Zakat [mandatory Islamic charity].”

“The madrassas [religious seminaries] also play an important role and we are aware that a few of them remained involved in collecting funds on behalf of banned terror outfits in the past,” Hilali added.

Security analysts also stress that the government should regulate and register all the religious seminaries across the country and should practice caution before making donations to religious organizations and seminaries.

In 2016, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government received scathing criticism when it allocated a grant of $3 million to Darul Uloom Haqqania, a religious seminary that is interpreted by some critics as the “University of Jihad.”

The Haqqani network, considered a terrorist group by Afghanistan and the United States, continues to fight Afghan and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of providing support to the Haqqani network. The U.S. State Department released its annual Country Report on Terrorism 2016 earlier this month. It criticized Pakistan and said it remained unsuccessful in stopping the activities of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. (VOA)

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Failure to Impose sanctions on Leaders of Terrorist Organisations is eroding the UN’s Authority, warns India

China has used its veto to provide cover for Jaish-e-Mohammad's Pakistan-based head, Masood Azhar, from sanctions

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United Nations, Flickr

– by Arul Louis

United Nations, Nov 18, 2016: Failure to impose sanctions on leaders of terrorist organisations is eroding the UN’s authority, India has warned.

If the Security Council and its agencies did not come up with a “cohesive response to global terrorism they run the risk of becoming marginalised from the most fundamental security priorities of member states whose fabric is being torn asunder by terrorists,” India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said on Thursday during a General Assembly debate on Afghanistan.

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He reiterated a demand India made in June for designating Taliban chief Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada as a terrorist and making him face the penalties of UN sanctions.

“The international community is impatient for action,” Akbaruddin said.

“Earlier this week, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan himself asked a delegation of the UNSC (Security Council) Sanctions Committee to include this person, and such others, in the list of terrorists,” he said.

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The working of the Sanctions committee has been a sore point for India. China has used its veto to provide cover for Jaish-e-Mohammad’s Pakistan-based head, Masood Azhar, from sanctions.

India says he is the mastermind of the January terrorist attack on the Air Force base in Pathankot.

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Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative Mahmoud Saikal also raised the problem of the Taliban and other terrorist organisations based in Pakistan.

Without directly naming it, he accused Pakistan of waging a “thinly disguised declared war” against his country by using the Taliban and other terrorist orgnisations, including the Haqqani network and the Islamic State.

He warned Islamabad, “Those who seek solace from the intention of keeping Afghanistan bleeding must remember that such actions would bleed them, too, and warrant international isolation.” (IANS)