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U.S. Treasury Targets Taliban, Iranian Backers With Sanctions

AFGHANISTAN -- Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, May 27, 2016
WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters)

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions targeting Afghanistan's Taliban insurgency on Tuesday, designating eight people including two Iranians linked to Tehran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds force, according to the department's website.

The individuals, which include two Pakistanis and four Afghanis, were identified as global terrorists by the Treasury Department, an action that allows the U.S. government to freeze property or interest in property under American jurisdiction.

The sanctions target Taliban members, who are involved in suicide attacks and other lethal activities, as well as Iranians who provide material and financial support, Treasury said in a statement.

“Iran’s provision of military training, financing, and weapons to the Taliban is yet another example of Tehran’s blatant regional meddling and support for terrorism. The United States and our partners will not tolerate the Iranian regime exploiting Afghanistan to further their destabilizing behavior.

The new sanctions follow a spate of violence in Afghanistan that preceded the country's parliamentary elections last week.

On Thursday, U.S. Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley, was confirmed as one of two Americans wounded an attack that killed the police chief of the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.

The attack, which was claimed by the Taliban, was a devastating blow to the government, decapitating the security command of one of Afghanistan’s most strategically important provinces and demonstrating the insurgents’ ability to strike even top leaders.

Press Release:Treasury Department About Taliban Facilitators And Their Iranian Supporters
Press Release:Treasury Department About Taliban Facilitators And Their Iranian Supporters

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Marguerita Choy)