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Designations highlight Taliban's longstanding ties to al Qaeda

In yesterday's designation of six Taliban leaders, the Treasury Department included Abdul Qadeer Basir Abdul Baseer, who has served as the "financial advisor to the Taliban's Peshawar Military Council," and the "head of the Taliban's Peshawar Financial Commission," and Maulawi Inayatullah who has served as "a member of the Taliban Peshawar Shura" and supported al Qaeda's network. Their designations highlight the continuity of the Taliban-al Qaeda relationship in Afghanistan and Pakistan that has endured more than 16 years of war against the US and its allies.

As members of the Afghan Taliban's Peshawar Shura, which of course operates inside the Pakistani city of Peshawar, the two men would have reported to Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshawari, who is better known as Sheikh Mohammed Aminullah. Aminullah was appointed as the emir of the Taliban's Peshawar Shura sometime in 2011, according to The Hindu, which was confirmed by US intelligence officials. Our sources confirmed he was leading the Peshawar Shura up until 2014; it is unclear if he commands it to this day. Aminullah's command of the Peshawar Shura overlapped with the service of Baseer and Inaytullah. He has been directly linked to al Qaeda since 2009.

Two years prior to his appointment as the emir of the Peshawar Shura, Aminullah was listed by the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee (UNSC). He was identified as running the Ganj Madrassa, or religious school, in Peshawar, which he has used to recruit and provide support for al Qaeda. Aminullah also furnished suicide vests to al Qaeda and Taliban suicide bombers, and paid the families of the terror group's so-called martyrs.

"[A]s the leader of the Ganj Madrassah in Peshawar, Pakistan, [Aminullah] was providing assistance including funding and recruits to the al Qaeda network as of early 2008," the UN stated in 2009. "He also provided funding, explosive suicide vests and other resources to the Taliban. Al-Peshawari [Aminullah] also began a campaign to support al Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan. As of 2006, Al-Peshawari was providing monetary compensation to families of al Qaida and Taliban fighters killed in Afghanistan and was involved in Taliban recruiting activities."

Seven months after the UN designation, the US Treasury Department added Peshawar to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Treasury's designation closely tracked that of the UNSC:

As of early 2008, Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshawari (Ameen al-Peshawari) was providing assistance, including funding and recruits, to the al Qaeda network. He has also provided funding and other resources to the Taliban, including explosive vests and other resources and actively facilitated the activities of anti-Coalition militants operating in Afghanistan by raising money in support of terrorist activities. In addition, he had begun a campaign to support militants in Pakistan. As of 2007, Ameen al-Peshawari was responsible for recruiting fighters and suicide bombers and for the acquisition of funds and equipment for militants in Afghanistan. Ameen al-Peshawari has also provided monetary compensation to families of fighters killed in Afghanistan and has been involved in anti-Coalition militia recruiting activities.

The Ganj Madrassa was listed as a terrorist facility in 2013. Jalaluddin, the previous mufti of the Islamic State's Khorasan province, was one of many jihadists who was trained at the Ganj Madrassa.

The FBI linked Aminullah to Lashkar-e Taiba, the Pakistan-based jihadist group that supports al Qaeda and the Taliban and wages jihad in India and Afghanistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba is also supported by Pakistan's military, Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, and members of Pakistan's government:

Shaykh Aminullah is wanted for questioning in connection with providing material support to Al Qaeda, the Taliban and anti-coalition militias, with the aid of a Pakistan-based terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT). Shaykh Aminullah is the founder and director of the Ganj Madrassa, a religious institution, and operates as a financier, recruiter and weapons facilitator for the Madrassa.

Aminullah's ties with al Qaeda and Pakistani jihadist groups has been established nearly a decade ago. It is no surprise that at least one of his deputies (Maulawi Inayatullah) provides support for al Qaeda and Pakistani jihadist groups. The Taliban is seeded with leaders such as Aminullah and Inayatullah, whose ties with al Qaeda run deep.

[Source: By Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, Fdds, NJ, 26Jan18]

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War in Afghanistan & Iraq
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