US designates Torek Agha as global terrorist
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States on Tuesday designated a senior Taliban leader and Quetta Shura member as a global terrorist and slapped sanctions against him for facilitating external funding and military operations in Afghanistan.
“Torek Agha, a long-standing Taliban member, has been central to spearheading brutal military attacks and raising millions of dollars to support the Taliban’s ruthless acts of terrorism,” said Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin.
As a result of the US action, any property or interest in property of the designated person subject to US jurisdiction is frozen. Additionally, transactions by US persons involving Torek Agha are generally prohibited.
“Treasury has aggressively targeted those supporting the Taliban’s financial and military aims, and today’s action marks yet another step in our efforts to financially cripple the group,” Szubin said.
According to the Treasury, Agha was a member of a group responsible for the Taliban leadership’s strategic planning and logistics operations, while also functioning as a key commander and member of the Taliban’s military council.
Over the years, Torek Agha was involved in authorizing the assassination of numerous Afghan government officials. Moreover, he was one of four senior Taliban commanders who, as of early 2012, had authorized the use of an unidentified chemical powder to assassinate senior Afghan government officials, it said.
As evidence of his long-standing role as a terrorism facilitator, Torek Agha in mid-2006 assigned Taliban fighters to various operational Taliban commanders and was one of the main links between the Taliban leadership and the groups of Arab fighters arriving in both Pakistan and Afghanistan to fight coalition forces.
For a number of years, Torek Agha worked as a prolific fundraiser, funneling millions from the Gulf to Taliban coffers. As of early 2012, Torek Agha received a donation from an unidentified Arab donor with instructions to pass the money to the Taliban’s shadow provincial governor of Uruzgan for assassination operations, the Treasury said.
Further, in 2012 Torek Agha and several other Taliban Quetta Shura members selected mullahs to travel to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to collect on the Taliban’s behalf both financial donations from Afghan businessmen and money from smugglers.
In 2010, Torek Agha collected approximately $4 million from Gulf-based donors for the Taliban, the majority of which he provided to fellow senior leader and Taliban finance collector Haji Mullah Gul Agha. Various Gulf-based associates and donors contributed $3.6 million for Torek Agha’s 2010 Taliban fundraising transfers to Gul Agha, the Treasury said.
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