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US designates two HIA affiliates as global terrorists

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The United States of America added two members of the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), Abdullah Nowbahar and Abdul Saboor in the list of global terrorists.

“The State Department has designated Abdullah Nowbahar and Abdul Saboor as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under second 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons that have committed, or posed serious risks of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of the U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States,” the US State Department said in a statement.

The statement added that as a result of “these designations”, all properties subjected to U.S. jurisdiction in which Abdullah Nowbahar and Abdul Saboor had any interest was blocked and U.S. nationals were prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Nowbahar and Saboor.

“On February 26, 2015, the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program announced rewards for information on both Nowbahar and Saboor. The Secretary of State authorized a reward of up to $3 million for information on Saboor and up to $2 million on Nowbahar.

“Abdullah Nowbahar and Abdul Saboor are explosive experts for Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG),” the statement said, adding that both Nowbahar and Saboor participated in the September 18, 2012 attack on a bus carrying foreign employees of Kabul International Airport that killed 12 people.

“Saboor is also responsible for a May 2013 suicide attack in Kabul that destroyed a U.S. armored vehicle, killing two soldiers and four U.S. civilian contractors; eight Afghans – including two children- were also killed and other 37 were wounded,” it said.

This comes at a time that the National Unity Government is putting all energy to approach all factions of the insurgents in a bid to convince them to shun violence and reintegrate into civil society through joining the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process. President Ashraf Ghani called on Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) led by Gulbuddin Hikmatyar to join peace talks and showed government’s readiness to hold talks with all militant outfits including HIA. Despite the fact that the Taliban rejected to participate in peace talks brokered by four-nation talks, the government still looks how to bring them to the table as some Afghan officials believe that Taliban’s peace talks rejection was a tactical step.

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