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UNSC sanctions terror group ISIS' South Asia Branch

Thursday, May 16, 2019

United Nations: The UN has sanctioned ISIS' South Asia Branch, a terrorist group formed in 2015 by a Pakistani national and a former commander of the TTP, for its links with al-Qaeda and involvement in several deadly attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan that killed over 150 people. The United Nations Security Council's 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee on Tuesday sanctioned Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - Khorasan (ISIL-K), which is also known as 'ISIS' South Asia Branch, ISIL Khorasan, Islamic State's Khorasan Province' and 'South Asian Chapter of ISIL'.

The listing comes two weeks after the Sanctions Committee designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as "global terrorist" on May 1, capping a decade-long effort by India and its allies including the US, the UK, France to sanction the mastermind of several attacks in India, including the 2001 Parliament attack and the February 14 Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF soldiers.

The group is now subject to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

The Sanctions Committee said in a statement that ISIS-K was formed on January 10, 2015 by a former Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander and was established by former Taliban faction commanders "who swore an oath of allegiance" to ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

According to leading Washington-based think tank for defense and national security Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in 2014, Pakistani national Hafiz Saeed Khan was chosen to spearhead ISIL-K province as its first "emir".

Khan, a senior TTP commander, "brought along other prominent TTP members - including the group's spokesman Sheikh Maqbool and many district chiefs - when he initially pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi in October 2014," said the CSIS, a nonprofit policy research organisation.

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