‘He recruited 4 Virginia-based operatives to monitor U.S. target sites’

The U.S. Treasury statement, announcing sanctions on eight top Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders, including Sajid Mir, recalls his long association with transcontinental LeT strikes.

“After September 11, 2001, Mr. Mir recruited four Virginia-based operatives, cleared them for LeT’s militant training, and directed them to monitor and research U.S. target sites.”

Ahmad Yakub, head of the Lashkar’s maritime operations unit and one of the former handlers of the incarcerated Pakistani-American jihadist David Headley, has also been sanctioned. Mr. Yakub, the Treasury states, served until last year as the Lashkar’s chief for operations run through Nepal and Bangladesh — among them, a 2009 plot to ship 60,000 rounds of ammunition into India.

The Treasury has also imposed sanctions on three members of the Lashkar’s central advisory committee — Muhammad Yakub Sheikh, Khalid Walid and Amir Hamza.

Lashkar public relations officer Abdullah Mujahid and Talha Saeed, head of its radio station and magazines, have been subjected to sanctions.

In addition, the Treasury has acted against Abdullah Muntazir — a long standing operative who, using the alias Abdullah Ghaznavi, once acted as the Lashkar’s spokesperson on Jammu and Kashmir. In a 2009 statement, Mr. Muntazir gloated over gun battles that had broken out along the Line of Control, saying they were “a message to India that the struggle for Kashmir’s freedom is not over.”

Mr. Muntazir is currently affiliated with a think tank at which he offers advice on terrorism-related issues, including the Lashkar; he also appears frequently on television chat shows. In one article posted on his blog last year, Mr. Muntazir eulogised the slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, saying, “They claim you are dead but for you it is the beginning of eternal life.”

In a statement released on Twitter, the Lashkar’s parent organisation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, said the designations were “nothing but bias against Islam and pressure against Pakistan to ban peaceful leaders.”

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