From time to time, the United States identifies certain individuals as crucial to the operation of terrorist organizations. Most often these are top leaders, or they help finance terrorist organizations. In all cases, these are people who have committed, or are deemed to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.
When such an individual is identified, the U.S. Government places that person's name on the Specially Designated Nationals List. His assets within U.S. reach are immediately frozen, and he is locked out of the global financial network. No U.S. citizen or company may conduct business with a designated individual. In this way, the United States disrupts financial support networks for terrorists and terrorist organizations.
In early November, the State Department added Mali Khan to the Specially Designated Nationals List.
Mali Khan is a senior commander of the Haqqani network of militants that operates from North Waziristan Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. The Haqqani Network has been at the forefront of insurgent activity in Afghanistan, responsible for many high-profile attacks.
Mali Khan has overseen hundreds of fighters, and has instructed his subordinates to conduct terrorist acts. He was in charge of suicide and other attacks, money, finance and operations. Mali Khan has provided support and logistics to the Haqqani Network, and has been involved in the planning and execution of attacks in Afghanistan against civilians, coalition forces, and Afghan police. In June 2011, Mali Khan's deputy provided support to the suicide bombers responsible for the attacks on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Mali Khan is an integral member of the Haqqani command, the uncle of the network's leader, Siraj Haqqani, and has served as an emissary between the Haqqanis and Baitullah Mehsud, the former head of the Pakistani Taliban.
In a significant set-back for the Haqqani network, Mali Khan was captured in late September during a joint NATO-Afghan forces operation in Afghanistan's Paktia Province. The designation was issued to ensure that none of his assets will benefit the Haqqani network, which is affiliated with the Taliban and whose leadership has pledged allegiance to the Taliban spiritual leader, Mullah Omar.