By Umar Farooq
The U.S. on Tuesday imposed sanctions on eight people who have been linked to the Taliban.
In announcing the sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin specifically called out Iran, saying that Tehran was actively trying to destabilize the Afghan government by supporting the Taliban.
“Iran’s provision of military training, financing, and weapons to the Taliban is yet another example of Tehran’s blatant regional meddling and support for terrorism,” said Mnuchin. “The United States and our partners will not tolerate the Iranian regime exploiting Afghanistan to further their destabilizing behavior.”
Those sanctioned were identified by the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), a seven-nation group that shares information about terrorist financing.
The TFTC was created during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia last year and includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The sanctioned list includes two from Pakistan, two from Iran and four from Afghanistan. The names are Abdul Aziz, Abdullah Samad Faroqie, Sadr Ibrahim, Hafiz Abdul Majid, Abdul Rahim Manan, Mohammad Daoud Muzzamil, Mohammad Ebrahim Owhadi and Esma’il Razavi.
The sanctions were imposed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), an agency under the Department of Treasury that deals with sanctions dealing with foreign policy objectives.
The use of sanctions are a part of Trump’s larger South Asia strategy to combat groups trying to undermine the Afghan government.
“We will continue to actively target those providing financial support to the Taliban until there is a negotiated peace settlement,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The TFTC also identified Naim Barich as serving as the Taliban’s shadow foreign minister since last year, however, he was placed on the sanctions list by the OFAC in 2012.