“US Slaps Sanctions on Haqqani Network Suicide Operations Chief”

November 6, 2012

The Wall Street Journal on November 5, 2012 released the following:

“By Samuel Rubenfeld

The U.S. State Department said Monday it placed sanctions on Qari Zakir, the Haqqani Network’s chief of suicide operations.

In addition to the U.S. designation, the United Nations placed Zakir and the Haqqani Network itself on its blacklist, requiring member states to implement an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo on both him and the group.

“Today’s U.N. actions demonstrate international resolve in eliminating the Haqqani Network’s ability to execute violent attacks in Afghanistan,” the State Department said in a statement.

The U.S. State Department placed the Haqqani Network on its list of foreign terror organizations in September after years of deliberation. Until then, the U.S. had focused its efforts targeting individual members of the group.

The Haqqani Network, dubbed “the Sopranos of the Afghanistan war” by the New York Times, built an empire out of kidnapping, extortion, smuggling and trucking.

Zakir, along with his role as chief of suicide operations for the network, is the operational commander in Kabul, Takhar, Kunduz and Baghlan provinces in Afghanistan, the State Department said.

He’s responsible for the training program, which includes instruction in small arms, heavy weapons and basic improvised explosive device construction, the State Department said. Since approaching leader Sirajuddin Haqqani in 2008 for financial assistance to expand the group’s influence in northern Afghanistan, Zakir has become a trusted associate and confidant of the group’s leadership.

Separately, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control removed Mohammad Abd El-Hamid Khalil Salah from its blacklist. Salah, an Illinois man who filed a lawsuit in September against Treasury in Chicago federal court, said in court papers he was the only U.S. citizen residing in the U.S. to be placed under sanctions.

In the complaint, Salah said the designation made him was unable to purchase virtually anything from food to a bank account.

OFAC would grant him licenses that, in theory, allowed him to do things like get a job or housing, but because OFAC is the sole determinant of such abilities, he “survives, in other words, only at the sufferance of OFAC,” the complaint said.

A Treasury spokesman said Monday that while evaluating its response to Salah’s legal complaint, OFAC determined it was appropriate to remove him from the blacklist”


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