The U.N. Security Council on Friday will impose sanctions on the Pakistani Taliban, an extremist Islamic organization that American officials blame for masterminding the botched May 2010 Times Square bombing plot.
The group, which is formally named Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), will be added Friday to a U.N. blacklist of terrorist organizations linked to al Qaeda. It was already placed on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization list last September, some four months after the United States accused the group of attempting to set off a car bomb in the packed New York City tourism center.
The United States proposed in recent weeks that the organization be added to the U.N. list, citing the widening reach of the organization's terrorism targets. Australia, Canada, Britain, France, and Pakistan co-sponsored the U.S. measure. Tomorrow's action reflects that the United States has now secured unanimous support from the 15-nation council, including from China and Russia, for imposing U.N. sanctions on the group.
The Obama administration claims that Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen who planted the Times Square car bomb, acknowledged that he was trained in Waziristan, a stronghold for al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.
The Pakistani Taliban, a relatively new militant group that was formally established in 2007 and is headed by Hakimullah Mehsud, who has engaged in increasingly audacious terrorist attacks against Pakistani and U.S. targets. The group launched a December 2009 attack against a U.S. military base in Afghanistan and carried out the April 2010 bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan.
The decision to target the Pakistani Taliban comes at a time when the United Nations is seeking to encourage the Afghan Taliban to pursue peace talks with the Afghan government, a necessary prelude to a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The U.N. anti-terrorism blacklist -- known officially as the 1267 list, a reference to the U.N. Security Council resolution that established the measures -- imposes a set of financial and travel bans that are aimed at restraining extremist capacity to strike.
Follow me on Twitter @columlynch