WASHINGTON: A day before the anniversary of 9/11, President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued an executive order to expand the administration’s ability to go after suspected terrorists and their financiers and supporters.
The list of 11 men the administration has termed as “global terrorists” includes Noor Wali, also known as Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud — who was named the leader of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in June 2018 following the death of former TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah.
“Today’s executive order by President Trump adds further muscle to US counterterrorism efforts,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a briefing to reporters at the White House.
Trump’s action amends an earlier executive order that former President George W. Bush initially signed after 9/11 by adding clauses to let the State and Treasury departments directly target leaders of suspected terror groups and their affiliates “without having to tie terrorist leaders to specific acts,” said Pompeo.
The order also more effectively targets individuals and groups participating in terrorist training and provides new authorities to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly do business with suspected terrorists, said the US Secretary of State.
Eric Lorber, a former Treasury Department senior adviser, said the new order is a “significant change,” adding, “while most financial institutions would not have done business with designated terrorists even before this new authority, this action makes clear that the US Treasury is willing to take serious steps to punish those financial institutions that do.”
“Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, the US government has refocused its counterterrorism efforts to constantly adapt to emerging threats. President Trump’s modernised counterterrorism Executive Order enhances the authorities we use to target the finances of terror groups and their leaders to ensure they are as robust as possible,” US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said.
“These new authorities will allow the US government to starve terrorists of resources they need to attack the United States and our allies and will hold foreign financial institutions who continue to do business with them accountable,” he added.
He further added, “these new tools aid our unrelenting efforts to cut off terrorists from their sources of support and deprive them of the funds required to carry out their destructive activities. They serve as a powerful deterrent to radical terror groups and those seeking to aid their nefarious goals.”
Using the new order, Treasury on Tuesday imposed sanctions on more than two dozen individuals and entities from 11 terrorist groups, including TTP, the Quds Force, the foreign wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Hamas, the Islamic State, al-Qaida and their affiliates.
With input from AP.