Pakistan Taliban put on UN terror list

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The UN Security Council on Friday put the Pakistan Taliban on its international anti-terrorism sanctions list in a move highlighting the growing threat from the group.

The 15-nation council also put a radical Chechen Islamist group, Emarat Kavkaz, led by Russia's most wanted man Doku Umarov on its sanctions list.

The adding of the Tehrik-E-Taliban Pakistan group to the sanctions list comes as the Security Council eases pressure on the Afghan Taliban in a bid to encourage it to join peace moves in Afghanistan.

The Pakistan Taliban has however been blamed for attacks that have left hundreds dead in Pakistan but also been linked to an attempted bombing in Times Square, New York last year.

The group emerged in 2007 in Pakistan's lawless tribal zones on the border with Afghanistan as the Pakistan military against Al-Qaeda linked radicals.

The Pakistan Taliban has vowed to overthrow the government and particularly targeted the military and politicians for attacks and assassinations.

But it made international headlines after claiming responsibility for an attempted bombing in Times Square on May 1 2010 and an attack on the US consulate in the Pakistani city of Peshawar in April 2010 which killed at least six Pakistanis.

A Pakistani-American, Faisal Shahzad, was jailed for life last October for the Times Square attack.

Tehrik-E-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud has been on the UN sanctions list since last October because of his links to Al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.

His group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the World Food Program headquarters in Islamabad in October 2009, and for an attack in July 2010 which killed more than 50 people waiting to receive relief supplies in Mohmand Tribal Agency, Pakistan.

Other attacks include a double suicide bombing in Mohmand Agency in December 2010 which killed more than 40 people, and an attack on a Pakistan army compound in Mardan in February 2011, which killed 31.

In May, Pakistan Taliban operatives stormed a Karachi naval base and killed at least 10 security officers. The Pakistan Taliban said Friday they were holding a Swiss couple kidnapped a month ago while on holiday in the remote province of Baluchistan.

Britain's UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the addition of the Pakistan Taliban to the UN terrorism list "sends a powerful signal of the international communitys solidarity and resolve in the fight against the TTP and international terrorism."

The UN Security Council decided last month to take the Afghan Taliban off the Al-Qaeda sanctions list to differentiate the two and encourage Afghan reconciliation efforts.

"We have made a conscious choice not to seek the wholesale listing of the Afghan Taliban at this time. This is because we want to support the Afghan reconciliation process," Lyall Grant said.

"But the Afghan Taliban should heed this message. The window will not be open forever. If the Taliban continue actively to work against the political process, continue attacks on civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan and UN Security Council-backed international forces, then we will seek the listing of key Taliban leaders, notably on the military side," the British ambassador added.

The Caucasus-based Emarat Kavkaz, which says it wants to set up an Emirate across the Russian Caucusus and neighboring countries, was added to the terror list because of its alleged links to Al-Qaeda.

It is accused of responsibility for attacks on Russian security forces. The group's leader, Doku Umarov, this week claimed responsibility for the killing of a Russian colonel, Yuri Budanov, who was convicted of strangling a teenaged girl.

© 2011 AFP

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