Designations of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and Two Senior Leaders

Press Statement
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
September 1, 2010

The Secretary of State has designated Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Secretary also designated TTP as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under E.O. 13224. Furthermore, the Secretary designated two senior TTP leaders, Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali Ur Rehman, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under E.O. 13224. Secretary Clinton took these actions in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury. These actions will help stem the flow of finances to TTP and provide the Department of Justice with a critical tool to prosecute those who knowingly provide material support to TTP and its senior leaders.

The Rewards for Justice Program has announced a five million dollar reward for any information leading to the arrest of Mehsud or Rehman. Additionally, the Department of Justice has filed an arrest warrant for Hakimullah Mehsud and charged him with conspiracy to murder U.S. citizens abroad and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.

TTP is a Pakistan-based terrorist organization that has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Pakistani and U.S. interests. Hakimullah Mehsud has been the leader of TTP since August 2009 and Wali Ur Rehman is the TTP Emir in South Waziristan. Rehman has participated in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO personnel, as well as attacks against Pakistani security forces.

TTP has carried out numerous attacks against U.S. interests under Mehsud and Rehman’s leadership. Such instances include a December 2009 suicide attack on a U.S. military base in Khowst, Afghanistan, which killed seven U.S. citizens, and an April 2010 suicide bombing against the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, which killed six Pakistani citizens.

TTP and al-Qa’ida have a symbiotic relationship; TTP draws ideological guidance from al-Qa’ida, while al-Qa’ida relies on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border. This mutual cooperation gives TTP access to both al-Qa’ida’s global terrorist network and the operational experience of its members. Given the proximity of the two groups and the nature of their relationship, TTP is a force multiplier for al-Qa’ida.

TTP is suspected of being behind the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Most recently, TTP claimed involvement in the failed attempt by Faisal Shahzad to detonate an explosive device in New York City’s Times Square on May 1, 2010. TTP’s claim has been validated by investigations which revealed that TTP directed and facilitated the plot.

The various actions taken today against TTP support the U.S. effort to degrade the capabilities of this group. We are determined to eliminate TTP’s ability to carry out terrorist attacks and to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat their networks. “Faisal Shahzad’s attempted attack on U.S. soil highlights the direct threat posed by the Pakistani Taliban,” said the Department of State’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Daniel Benjamin. “Today’s actions put the TTP and its sympathizers on notice that the United States will not tolerate support to this organization, which has inflicted great harm to U.S. and Pakistani interests. TTP’s destabilizing effect in Pakistan’s tribal areas has resulted in innumerable civilian deaths and considerable property losses. It has greatly, indeed unacceptably, complicated the efforts to counter the threat posed by al-Qa’ida.”

PRN: 2010/1186