UK imposes sanctions on Pakistan’s Taliban leader Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud

The head of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan faces a freeze on all his assets

Noor Wali Mehsud has been placed on the UK's sanctions list.
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The UK has placed Pakistan’s Taliban leader Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud on its sanction list, frozen his assets and imposed a travel ban following a similar move by the UN Security Council a week ago.

Last year, Mahsud, 42, who leads the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group, was designated a global terrorist by the US. The group is behind dozens of suicide bombings and is responsible for hundreds of deaths.

He was put on Britain’s ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorist financial sanction list on Thursday for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of” entities associated with Al Qaeda.

In an official notice, the UK Government warned any entities holding his accounts or funds to immediately freeze them and make a report to the Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation.

“Failure to comply with financial sanctions legislation or to seek to circumvent its provisions is a criminal offence,” it added.

Mehsud took the reins of the TTP two years ago, after his predecessor, Mullah Fazlullah, was killed in a US drone strike.

Attacks attributed to the TTP have fallen from 352 in 2014 to 82 in 2019, according to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies in Islamabad, which tracks militant violence.

The US State Department welcomed the UN's measures, writing on Twitter: “TTP is responsible for many deadly terrorist attacks in Pakistan.”

Mehsud came to power vowing to reset the movement and rebuild alliances between its estranged factions.

He attempted to stamp his authority on the organisation soon after his accession, with new guidelines for commanders that detailed when to use suicide bombings, how to resolve internal quarrels and what to do with spies.

A series of attacks on troops in recent months has coincided with reports that some TTP fighters have returned from across the Afghan border to districts such as North Waziristan.

In addition to Mehsud, the UK has also blacklisted four other ISIS terror entities in Yemen, Libya, West Africa and Greater Sahara.

The ISIS Greater Sahara group is the result of a split with Al-Mourabitoun in 2015 and is responsible for terror attacks in Mali, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.

The list states that ISIS in West Africa is a splinter group of Boko Haram and is responsible for terror attacks in Nigeria.

Jamaah Ansharut Daulat has also been added to the list. It says the entity is an umbrella group of Indonesian extremist organisations.

In its latest list, the UK has removed Osama Bin Laden’s Minister of Security Qari Ahmadullah, on the grounds that he is dead. Ahmadullah was killed in a US drone strike in 2001, but Al Qaida had continued to claim he was alive.