Al-Qaida Branch in Indian Subcontinent Now On U.S. Terror List

WASHINGTON — The State Department June 30 put al-Qaida’s branch in the Indian subcontinent on its list of foreign terrorist groups.

The action bans Americans from engaging in transactions with the group or its leader, Asim Umar, and freezes any assets the group has within U.S. jurisdiction. It also prohibits people from knowingly providing support to the group.

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri formed al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent in a video address in September 2014.

The group claimed responsibility for the Sept. 6, 2014, attack on a naval dockyard in Karachi, Pakistan, in which militants attempted to hijack a Pakistani Navy frigate. It also claimed responsibility for the 2015 killing of activists and writers in Bangladesh, including U.S. citizen Avijit Roy, local U.S. embassy employee Xulhaz Mannan, and three Bangladeshi nationals.

India-born Asim Umar, the chief of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent — known as AQIS — was designated as a “global terrorist” June 30 by the State Department.

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Umar, a former member of U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization Harakat ul-Mujahidin, was born as Sana-Ul Haq in Sambhal, Uttar Pradesh, and graduated from Darul Uloom seminary in Deoband in 1991.

He later travelled to Pakistan where he studied at the Darul Uloom Haqqania Nowshera, the seminary which is dubbed as the ‘University of Jihad.’

“Today’s action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that AQIS and Umar are actively engaged in terrorism,” the State Department said.

“Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, these designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments,” it said.

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