- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Obama administration on Thursday blacklisted a senior leader of Pakistan-based militant group that has used suicide attacks to kill scores of people in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including seven Americans.

The administration’s action freezes any assets Qari Hussain, a top official of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), holds in U.S. jurisdictions and bars Americans from having any financial dealings with him.

Mr. Hussain, who recruits and trains suicide bombers at camps inside Pakistan, is known as a particularly ruthless terrorist leader - a reputation cemented by his training children as young as 7 to be suicide bombers.

He ran training camps at Spinkai in South Waziristan until they were overrun in Pakistani army operations. He is believed to have moved his operations to North Waziristan.

Jordanian militant Humam Muhammad Abu Mulal al-Balawi, the double agent who killed seven CIA agents in a 2009 suicide bombing in Khost, Afghanistan, is believed to have received training from Mr. Hussain.

TTP has taken responsibility for many suicide attacks in Pakistan.

Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, said the administration’s action against Mr. Hussain was in response to the “wanton acts of violence he has perpetrated against the people of Pakistan and United States.”

“Hussain’s sponsored operations have had a destabilizing effect on the region and his use of children to carry out suicide bombings is abhorrent,” Mr. Benjamin said.

Mr. Hussain has been reported as having been killed on at least three previous occasions.

He was believed killed in 2008 until he appeared at a press conference in the tribal belt along the Pakistan-Afghan border a few weeks later and taunted Pakistani officials by saying, “I am alive, don’t you see me?”

The State Department has designated TTP as a foreign terrorist organization.

• Ashish Kumar Sen can be reached at asen@washingtontimes.com.

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