WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Thursday widened the scope of its crackdown on suspected extremist leaders in Pakistan by placing on its terrorist blacklist a top lieutenant in the Pakistani Taliban believed responsible for training the suicide bomber who killed seven CIA agents at an Afghan base in late 2009.
In separate statements, the departments of State and Treasury announced they had identified Qari Hussain, one of the group’s top explosives experts and recruiter of suicide bombers, as a “specially designated” terrorist. The move freezes any assets he may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bars Americans from having any financial dealings with him.
State Department counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin said the designation was a “response to the wanton acts of violence he has perpetrated against the people of Pakistan and United States. Mr. Hussain’s sponsored operations have had a destabilizing effect on the region and his use of children to carry out suicide bombings is abhorrent.”
In addition to training the Jordanian double agent who killed the CIA agents at a base in Khost, Afghanistan on Dec. 30, 2009, Mr. Hussain is held responsible for numerous suicide attacks in Pakistan. He is accused of organizing and running camps to recruit and train men of all ages to be suicide bombers, and is known for his heavy recruitment of children, according to the statements. Mr. Hussain also narrated a YouTube video claiming responsibility for last year’s failed Times Square bomb attack.