Pak militants sack top member

Updated 11 July 2013
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Pak militants sack top member

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan-based Taleban sacked their spokesman yesterday for making remarks that angered their Afghan allies, in a move highlighting efforts to patch up divisions within the increasingly fractured insurgency.
Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP), formed in 2007, is an umbrella group uniting various militant factions operating in Pakistan’s volatile northwestern tribal areas along the porous border with Afghanistan.
Any further divisions within the movement are likely to weaken the Afghan Taleban’s fight against Western forces there, making it more difficult to recruit young fighters and disrupting safe havens in Pakistan used by Afghan militants.
The Pakistani Taleban announced the dismissal of Ehsanullah Ehsan — an outspoken and prominent figure close to TTP’s top brass — in a pamphlet distributed by militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region on the Afghan border.
“He has made comments that have raised the danger of divisions between the Pakistani Taleban and the Afghan Taleban,” the pamphlet said.
“The Taleban are our foundation and Afghan Taleban leader Mullah Omar is our supreme leader. That is why, from today, Ehsanullah Ehsan is no longer our spokesman.”
One TTP commander told Reuters that the Afghan Taleban were incensed when Ehsan told a local newspaper that US-Taleban peace talks in Doha would have no effect on the TTP, suggesting that the two movements were “totally different.” “After Ehsan’s damaging statements, the Afghan Taleban asked us not to use their stationery or their flag,” he said by telephone from North Waziristan. “This is unacceptable for us.”
Ehsan was replaced by Sheikh Maqbool, a man who is considered close to the Afghan Taleban and has spent much of his time since 2007 in Afghanistan.
But Ehsan’s sacking could also signal yet another chink in the armor of the Pakistani Taleban itself, which last month lost its second-in-command, Wali-ur-Rehman, in a US drone strike in North Waziristan, a militant stronghold.
The Pakistani movement has long struggled to formulate a unified set of goals, with some factions focusing on staging attacks against domestic military and civilian targets and others calling for deeper involvement in the Afghan cause.


More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

Updated 26 April 2018
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More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

  • Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing
  • The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron

PARIS: More than 70 countries committed Thursday to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions “even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.”
The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long-term.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani were all present.
Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the United States, is expected to close the conference later with a call for the necessity for multilateral action.
Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words will be put into action.
“When we have information — for example the UN list of individuals and entities financing terrorism — we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly,” Lewis told The Associated Press.
Participants called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations.
Participants included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Arabian Gulf.
France has pushed for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it has recognized how sensitive the issue is, and saw the conference as a first step for coordinated action.
The French organizers noted that Daesh military defeats on the ground have not prevented the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with Al-Qaeda — especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.
Terror groups don’t only rely on the cash economy — they’re using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations.
Daesh has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. Daesh revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president’s office.
Though most of the attacks in Western countries do not cost a lot of money, a French official said terror groups “behave like big organizations” in that it “costs a lot to recruit, train, equip people and spread propaganda.” The official was speaking anonymously under the presidency’s customary practice.
The French counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins told FranceInfo radio that Daesh uses micro-financing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money.
Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to Daesh over the last two years, he said.
Money, he said, went to “320 collectors mostly based in Turkey and Lebanon from whom jihadis in Iraq and Syria could receive funds.”
In recent years, the US and other Western nations have encouraged Middle Eastern nations to close off such sources.
However, allegations over extremist funding in part sparked a near-yearlong boycott of Qatar by four Arab states.
Qatar denies funding extremists, though it has faced Western criticism about being lax in enforcing rules.
Participants agreed to hold a similar conference next year in Australia.