Terror blacklist spares Lashkar
6 October 2001
Washington DC: The United States has redesignated 26 extremist groups, including Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida and the LTTE, as “foreign terrorist organisations”, but ignored India’s demands to blacklist the Pakistan- backed terrorist groups active in Jammu and Kashmir such as the Lashkar-e-Taiyaba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed. The state department spokesman, Mr Richard Boucher, said here yesterday that Washington would consider later this year if the Jaish, orchestrators of the recent car bomb blast at the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in Srinagar, should be formally designated a terrorist group. The “foreign terrorist organisations” stipulated in the biennial list — published in the Federal Register — are subject to strict financial and visa restrictions. Mr Boucher, however, added the Jaish is listed among extremist organisations in the state department’s annual report on global terrorism though it has not not been formally designated a terrorist group. India had in recent weeks renewed its demands for the USA to include the LeT and the JeM in its list of foreign terrorist organisations. The only Pakistan-based group on the list is the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. “As we embark on a long struggle against terrorism, I hope this list will draw the attention of governments across the world ...,” the US Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell, said in a statement yesterday. Foreign governments should help Washington isolate these groups, choke off their sources of funding and stop them from crossing borders, Mr Powell added. This year’s list was not dictated by the Black Tuesday attacks, state department officials said. Besides the al-Qaida the list also includes six groups believed to have links to bin Laden, Mr Boucher said. These are the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Gama’a al-Islamiyya of Egypt, Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen based in Pakistan and the Abu Sayyaf group in The Philippines. Also included is an array of other groups such as the Hamas and the Hizbollah which are involved with the conflict in West Asia. Three other organisations, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Real IRA and the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (known by its Spanish initials AUC) were designated terrorist groups in the last two years and therefore did not have to be certified as such in the latest list. Mr Powell singled out not only the al-Qaida but also the Hamas, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, the LTTE, Colombia’s FARC and the Basque separatists of Spain as having carried out what he called murderous attacks on innocent people in the last two years. Others, such as the Palestinian group Abu Nidal, the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (initialed PKK in Turkish) had been less active over the last two years but had still continued to plan and prepare for possible attacks, he added. But none of them has ever carried out an attack on the scale of the Black Tuesday assaults. A month-old report prepared by the terrorism expert, Mr Kenneth Katzman gave a chilling picture of the al-Qaeda’s potential reach. It said bin Laden’s followers were believed to be operating in 34 countries and estimated the size of his force at 3,000 full-time operatives.