US blacklists two from Pakistan-based militant group

Reuters News

9/28/2011 11:29:26 AM - Reuters News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday it was blacklisting two officials of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the largest Islamic militant groups in South Asia.

The move means that U.S. citizens will be prohibited from having any dealings with Zafar Iqbal or Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi and any of their assets found in the United States will be frozen, the department said.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT, was founded in 1990 and long focused on fighting Indian rule in Kashmir. It was blamed for the coordinated attacks on the Indian financial capital Mumbai in November in 2008 that killed 166 people.

The United States has designated LeT -- "army of the pure" -- as a "foreign terrorist organization." Pakistan banned it in 2002, but critics say it long operated openly under different names.

The Treasury Department said Iqbal was a leader and co-founder of LeT and was in charge of its finance department while Bhuttavi had helped prepare operatives for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

"Over the past 20 years, Iqbal and Bhuttavi have been responsible for fundraising, recruitment and indoctrination of operatives," said David Cohen, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

(Reporting by Glenn Somerville, editing by Will Dunham)