- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The State Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on a Pakistan-based terrorist group that supports al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The Commander Nazir Group has “run training camps, dispatched suicide bombers, provided safe haven for al Qaeda fighters, and conducted cross-border operations in Afghanistan against the United States and its allies,” the State Department said.

The State Department action names the group and its subcommander, Malang Wazir, as “specially designated global terrorists.” The designation freezes all assets the group has in U.S. jurisdictions and prohibits U.S. citizens from supporting the militants.

Wazir has overseen training centers and has been known to send fighters to Afghanistan to support the Taliban, the State Department said. His group also has attacked U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Announcing the appointment of a new leader following the death of Commander Nazir last month, the group vowed to continue supporting al Qaeda and attacking coalition troops.

The Commander Nazir Group also has carried out attacks in Pakistan, including against its military.

Sherry Rehman, Pakistani ambassador to the United States, on Tuesday called for some “strategic sympathy” in Washington for the challenges her country faces in the war against militants.

U.S. officials credit the use of unmanned, armed drones along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan with success in degrading al Qaeda’s ranks.

But Ms. Rehman said the Obama administration’s drone policy has “hit diminishing returns.”

The use of drones is not a good idea, in part because it breaches Pakistan’s sovereignty, Ms. Rehman said at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

“We see it as activating more terrorists than destroying them now,” she said. “Do you really want the next generation … thinking of the United States as the entity that projects power through drone attacks? I don’t think so.”

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