State Department Terrorist Designations of Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev and Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 13, 2016

The Department of State has designated Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev and Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a result of these designations, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Byutukaev and Vakhitov have any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Byutukaev and Vakhitov.

Byutukaev is the leader for Chechnya of the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Caucasus Province (ISIL-CP). Prior to joining ISIL, Byutukaev was a prominent leader of the SDGT Caucasus Emirate (CE). He was responsible for directing numerous deadly suicide bombing operations, including the January 2011 attack at the crowded international arrivals hall of Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, which killed at least 35 and injured over 100. Since becoming an ISIL leader in June 2015 Byutukaev has planned attacks on behalf of the group; in November 2015 Russian Special Forces discovered a large bomb hidden on the side of the road in Kantyshevo, Ingushetiya, Russia, thwarting an ISIL attack directed by Byutukaev.

Vakhitov is a foreign terrorist fighter from Tatarstan, Russia who has fought in Syria. Vakhitov is associated with Jaysh al-Muhajirin Wal Ansar, a group that was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a SDGT under Executive Order 13224. Vakhitov has also used the internet to recruit militants to travel to Syria.

The imposition of sanctions by the United States against terrorists is a powerful tool. Today’s action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev and Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov are actively engaged in terrorism. Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments.