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U.S. Targets Haqqani Network Commander

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) — The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it has labeled as a terrorist a commander of a Taliban-affiliated group plaguing Afghanistan, freezing his U.S. assets.

The terrorist tag also forbids U.S. citizens from doing business with the commander, Sangeen Zadran, who the department said is responsible for numerous high-profile attacks in Afghanistan.

Sangeen, the department said, acts as a shadow governor of Paktika province and is a member of the Haqqani Network, which operates from North Waziristan, Pakistan.

He helps lead fighters in attacks across southeastern Afghanistan, and is thought to have planned and coordinated movement of hundreds of foreign fighters into Afghanistan, the State Department said.

Sangeen also has been linked to numerous improvised explosive device attacks and engineered kidnappings of Afghans and foreign nationals in the region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the department said.

“The actions taken against this individual demonstrate international resolve in eliminating his ability to execute violent attacks and to disrupt, dismantle and defeat terrorist networks,” the State Department said.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against three members of Jemaah Islamiya, identified by the department as a Southeast Asia-based terrorist network with ties to al-Qaida.

The action freezes the U.S. assets of the men and forbids U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

The department said Umar Patek, a senior network member, planned and financed attacks in the Philippines and Indonesia, including the 2002 nightclub attacks in Bali. Network leader Abdul Rahim Ba’asyir trained and led operatives in Southeast Asia, the department said, and Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman, a senior network member, raised money for terrorist attacks and other network activities.

“These three men have demonstrated their commitment to violence,” David S. Cohen, under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a news release. “Today’s actions are intended to disrupt their ability to access the international financial system to support their deadly agendas.”

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