US slaps sanctions on Taliban figures, financing arm

The Kabul Bank scandal highlighted rampant corruption in Afghanistan

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The Kabul Bank scandal highlighted rampant corruption in Afghanistan (AFP Photo/Shah Marai)

Washington (AFP) - The United States imposed sanctions Thursday on a Taliban financing company and two key Taliban men, labeling them global terrorists as it continued to crack down on the militant group.

The Treasury Department said the sanctions targeted the financial and leadership networks of the Taliban, the fierce insurgency fighting the government of Afghanistan.

The Treasury placed sanctions on a Pakistan-based hawala, or money transfer business, Haji Basir and Zarjmil Company (Basir Zarjmil Hawala), and its owner, Haji Abdul Basir, for providing financial services or other support to the Taliban.

Basir's business, based in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan, distributes money to Taliban members in Afghanistan and also has used Pakistani banks as a conduit for Taliban financing, the Treasury said.

Basir was considered to be the principal money exchanger for Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan as of 2012.

The Treasury also placed sanctions Qari Rahmat, a Taliban commander since at least February 2010 who the Treasury said also collects taxes and bribes on behalf of the Taliban and supplies them with arms..

"The Taliban continues to conduct terrorist attacks against US forces and innocent civilians, posing a direct threat to US national security interests," said David Cohen, the Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a statement.

"We will continue to work to deprive terrorists of the funds necessary to sustain and perpetrate terrorist operations."

The sanctions freeze any assets of the designated entities in the United States and prohibits their transactions with US persons.

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