WASHINGTON: The Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton today said the US “stands in solidarity” with India in mourning the victims of the 2008 Mumbai carnage and that “resolve and resilience” of the people is more powerful than terrorist guns and bombs.
In a statement on the eve of the deadly attacks carried out by 10 LeT terrorists that killed 166 people, including six Americans, Ms Clinton said: “Now, as then, the American people stand in solidarity with the people of India and honour those who lost their lives.”
“As the people of the United States gather with family to celebrate Thanksgiving, we pause to remember the horrific attack on innocent men, women and children that occurred in Mumbai two years ago,” she said.
The US President, Mr Barack Obama had stayed at the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, one of the high-profile targets of the Mumbai attack, during his India visit earlier this month “to send a strong message” to terrorists.
He also met survivors and next of the kin of victims to hail their courage and pledged to stand with India to fight terror.
“As the people of Mumbai gather in temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras and synagogues to honour those who perish on November 26, 2008, they send a message of resolve, resilience and mutual respect that is far louder and more powerful then any terrorist guns and bombs,” Ms Clinton said.
Referring to Mr Obama’s visit, Ms Clinton said President Obama’s recent visit to India “underscored our nations shared belief in liberty, democracy and mutual respect for all people.”
The US has been demanding Pakistan that the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks be brought to justice. It has also imposed sanctions on LeT and most of its leaders.
On the eve of second anniversary of the 26/11 attacks, the US today declared three top operatives of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba as “global terrorists” and slapped sanctions against a charity group, closely linked to the terror outfit and Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
Sanctions were slapped against Pakistan-based Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), which is closely connected to LeT and JuD. The foundation has provided humanitarian assistance to Pakistanis displaced by recent floods.
“Today’s amendment of the LeT designation to include FIF shows that the United States will not tolerate any support to this organisation. LeT has attempted to use FIF as a way to evade scrutiny. This designation will help put to an end that attempted evasion,” said the State Department’s Coordinator for Counter-terrorism Ambassador, Mr Daniel Benjamin.
Besides slapping sanctions on FIF, the US designated three senior LeT members as global terrorists. Two of them are Mian Abdullah, head of LeT’s Traders Department, and Mohmmad Naushad Alam Khan, a key financial facilitator for the outfit.
LeT senior leader and current head of FIF, Hafiz Abdur Rauf, is the third person in the list.
LeT has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Indian and US interests and is responsible for the horrific November 2008 Mumbai attacks which claimed 166 lives. The group has been closely associated with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network.
“Few individuals are more integral to LeT’s fundraising than Hafiz Abdur Rauf and Mian Abdullah,” said the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Mr Stuart Levey.
“In their respective capacities, today’s designees play key roles in advancing LeT’s operations and soliciting financial support on its behalf. These actions will help stem the flow of finances to LeT through FIF and provide the Department of Justice with a critical tool to prosecute those who knowingly provide material support to LeT and its senior leaders,” the State Department said.
The various actions taken today against FIF support the US effort to degrade the capabilities of LeT. We are determined to eliminate LeT’s ability to carry out terror attacks and to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat its networks, it said.
Hafiz Abdur Rauf, a member of LeT’s senior leadership since 1999, is the FIF chief.
As of mid-2009, LeT was using the name FIF to fundraise and evade international pressure on LeT following the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai.
In 2009, Rauf as a fundraiser in Pakistan raised money for the organisation under the FIF alias.
Under the direct command of LeT’s overall leader and chief, Muhammad Saeed, Rauf was LeT’s Director of Humanitarian Relief in 2008 and LeT’s Director of Public Service in 2003.
In August 2008, at the direction of Saeed, Rauf led an LeT/Jamaat-ud Dawa (JUD) delegation to assess LeT/JuD relief and fundraising in Bajaur, Pakistan. Rauf has also acted as a spokesperson for LeT, speaking on behalf of the organisation to the media, through LeT’s website, and at public forums.
In a December 2008 interview on LeT’s website, Rauf detailed LeT/JuD’s welfare activities, referring to it as his organization.
In August 2003, Rauf told a Pakistani newsweekly that LeT/JuD was collecting funds and carrying out relief operations, despite a ban by the Government of Pakistan on the organization’s activities. Rauf previously headed LeT’s charitable wing, Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq (IKK), and LeT/JuD’s welfare wing.
In mid-2007, Rauf traveled to Peshawar to supervise IKK relief activities. He also presided over an IKK meeting during which he presented a report on LeT activities in support of flood victims. Mian Abdullah serves as the head of LeT’s Traders’ Department. In this capacity, he liaises with prominent Pakistani businessmen and solicits financial support for LeT.
Prior to assuming this role, Abdullah has been a member of LeT since 1989 and was its Director of Finance, a position he assumed from Haji Muhammad Ashraf following Ashraf’s designation as a SDGT in May 2008 and his addition to the UN 1267 Consolidated List in December 2008.
Abdullah was also the head of LeT’s training camps in early 2009, having replaced Nasir Javaid, who was named a SDGT in July 2009.
Abdullah has also served as an LeT leader in Peshawar, Pakistan, and as an instructor in an LeT camp in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Naushad Alam Khan is a key financial facilitator for LeT who supports the organization through an international counterfeit currency and smuggling network.
Naushad has recruited members to LeT’s smuggling network, provided them with counterfeit currency and facilitated the network’s operations.
In April 2008, Naushad was arrested by Bangladeshi authorities in Dhaka for laundering approximately USD 125,000 worth of counterfeit Indian rupees.
As of 2008, Naushad was also a close aide of a senior Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B) leader, with whom he fought in Afghanistan.
HUJI-B was named a SDGT and designated as an FTO in February 2008.