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Page last updated at 05:42 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 06:42 UK

US blacklists Pakistan militants

Police detain two Lashkar-e-Toiba suspects in Delhi (File picture)
The group has been carrying out attacks since 1993, the US says.

The United States has imposed financial sanctions on four people it says are leaders of the Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET).

The US treasury called the group "a murderous al-Qaeda affiliate" which had shown willingness to murder civilians.

The group is active in Indian-administered Kashmir. In 2001, the US blocked its assets.

LET has been blamed for attacks on commuter trains in Mumbai in 2006 and the Indian parliament in 2001.

Assets frozen

"LET's transnational nature makes it crucial for governments worldwide to do all they can to stifle LET's fundraising and operations," the treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Stuart Levey, said.

The US government said the group had carried out attacks against military and civilian targets in India since 1993.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed
Mohammad Saeed is one of the four men targeted

Among the four men targeted is Mohammad Saeed, described by the treasury as the group's leader.

The others include Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, said to be chief of operations, and Haji Muhammad Ashraf. The treasury says the two run its finances.

The fourth man is Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq who the US alleges is a major Lashkar financier.

The sanction will mean their US-based assets will now be frozen and Americans will be banned from doing business with them.

Pakistan-based LET (Soldiers of the Pure) is one of the most feared groups fighting against Indian control in Kashmir.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf banned them, along with four other Islamist groups, in January 2002 amid pressure that followed the 11 September attacks in the US.

Until then LET, with its reputation for being purely focused on fighting India in Kashmir, was able to operate openly inside Pakistan, raising funds and recruiting members.




SEE ALSO
Profile: Lashkar-e-Toiba
17 Mar 06 |  South Asia
Who is behind the India bombings?
14 May 08 |  South Asia
Violent 'army of the pure'
14 Dec 01 |  South Asia

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