The US sanctioned on Monday a pivotal “financial facilitator” for Daesh/ISIS’s Afghanistan branch.
The Treasury Department said Ismatullah Khalozai “operated a Turkey-based hawala business to transfer funds to finance ISIS-K operations” for two years. It was referring to Daesh/ISIS-Khorasan Province, which is sometimes referred to as ISIS-K.
Khalozai is also alleged to have operated a financing scheme out of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that involved the international resale of luxury goods whose proceeds would be sent to Daesh/ISIS-K’s coffers. The US also accused him of enacting human smuggling operations, including one that brought an Daesh/ISIS-K courier from Afghanistan to Turkey.
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“The Biden Administration is committed to rooting out terrorist financing networks around the world,” said Andrea Gacki, the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control director. “Today’s designation underscores the United States’ determination to prevent ISIS-K and its members from exploiting the international financial system to support terrorist acts in Afghanistan and beyond.”
US blacklists 3 Daesh/ISIS-K leaders
The US designated three leaders of Daesh/ISIS’ Afghanistan affiliate as global terrorists on Monday, including its leader Sanaullah Ghafari.
Ghafari has served as Daesh/ISIS-Khorasan Province’s (Daesh/ISIS-K) “current overall emir” since June 2020, and “is responsible for approving all ISIS-K operations throughout Afghanistan and arranging funding to conduct operations,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The terror group’s spokesperson, Sultan Aziz Azam, was also blacklisted alongside Maulaw Rajab, the individual the department said is responsible for planning the group’s attacks in Kabul.
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“The United States is committed to using its full set of counterterrorism tools to counter the threat posed by the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province, commonly referred to as ISIS-K, as part of our relentless efforts to ensure Afghanistan cannot again become a platform for international terrorism,” said Blinken.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk