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State Department Designation of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Mohamed Abrini


An undated combo handout photograph made available by the Belgian Federal Police showing Mohamed Abrini.

By designating Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Mohamed Abrini as terrorists, the United States is taking a decisive step toward disrupting their ability, and the ability of their associates, from executing their deadly agendas.

When the United States identifies a terrorist group, or individuals who may have a hand in helping to move or raise money on behalf of terrorists, we lock them out of the international banking system, thus taking away their ability to transfer money to vendors and to receive money from donors. We freeze what funds they may have in the banking system and within reach of the United States, and ensure that no businesses or manufacturers will trade with them.

That is essentially what happens when the United States designates, under Executive Order 13224, an individual or group deemed to be terrorist in nature, or likely to commit terrorist activity.

In early August, the State Department marked as Specially Designated Global Terrorists the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar terror group, and Mohamed Abrini, who is a member of the Europe-based branch of ISIL, also known as Da’esh.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is a splinter group of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Tehrik-e-Taliban was itself designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2010.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has staged numerous attacks targeting civilians, religious minorities, military personnel, and law enforcement. In March of this year, the group executed a suicide assault at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal amusement park in Lahore, Pakistan that killed more than 70 people and injured hundreds more. The Easter Sunday attack was the deadliest terror attack in Pakistan since December 2014. Most of the victims were women and children.

Occasionally, the State Department designated individual is already in custody. That is the case with Mohamed Abrini, who participated in the November 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people and injured over 350 others, and the March 2016 Brussels attacks, which caused the deaths of 32 people. Abrini was arrested in April by Belgian security forces.

A terrorism designation can expose and isolate organizations and individuals engaged in terrorism. It also prevents co-conspirators from using resources to continue terrorist work.

By designating Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Mohamed Abrini as terrorists, the United States is taking a decisive step toward disrupting their ability, and the ability of their associates, from executing their deadly agendas.

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