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U.S. Treasury targets Pakistani militants

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Americans may not engage in transactions with front group
  • The move is designed to incapacitate two militant groups
  • President Obama will visit Mumbai attack memorial this weekend

Washington (CNN) -- The U.S. Treasury is prohibiting Americans from "engaging in any transactions" with three Pakistan-based militants and a front group.

The Treasury said Thursday that the move is targeting the financial and support networks of Lashkar-e Tayyiba and Jaish-e Mohammed, two militant groups operating in the Asian subcontinent.

The agency cited Azam Cheema, who helped train operatives for the November 2008 Mumbai, India, attacks and was the "mastermind" behind the July 2006 Mumbai train bombings carried out by Lashkar-e Tayyiba.

Treasury also acted against Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, head of Lashkar-e Tayyiba's political affairs department, for acting for or on behalf of the group.

Al Rehmat Trust, called an "an operational front" for Jaish-e Mohammed, was designated for providing support to and for acting for or on behalf of that group, and Mohammed Masood Azhar Alvi, Jaish-e Mohammed's founder and leader, was designated for acting for on behalf of the group.

The move comes ahead of President Barack Obama's trip to Asia, where he will visit the memorial in Mumbai for the attacks this weekend.

"LET and JEM have proven both their willingness and ability to execute attacks against innocent civilians," said Stuart Levey, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

"Today's action -- including the designation of Azam Cheema, one of LET's leading commanders who was involved in the 2008 and 2006 Mumbai attacks -- is an important step in incapacitating the operational and financial networks of these deadly organizations."

The United States has designated Jaish-e Mohammed and Lashkar-e Tayyiba as foreign terrorist organizations.

The Treasury statement said "Al Rehmat Trust has provided support for militant activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including financial and logistical support to foreign fighters operating in both countries. In early 2009, several prominent members of al Rehmat Trust were recruiting students for terrorist activities in Afghanistan."