WASHINGTON – The Obama administration designated a key insurgent commander in southeastern Afghanistan as a terrorist Tuesday, freezing any assets he has in the United States and barring Americans from doing business with him.
The State Department said Mullah Sangeen Zadran is the shadow governor of Paktika province in southeastern Afghanistan and a commander in the Haqqani network.
A statement said Sangeen leads fighters in attacks and has helped hundreds of foreign fighters enter Afghanistan. It also linked him to bombings and kidnappings of Afghans and foreigners in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Sangeen was also designated a terrorist by the U.N., meaning he should be subject to a global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo. The Haqqani network has ties to both al-Qaida and the Taliban and has emerged as one of the biggest threats to stability in Afghanistan.
"These actions will help stem the flow of financial and other assistance to this dangerous individual," the State Department said.
Sangeen appears to be the same individual whom U.S.-led forces claimed to have killed in an operation in 2007. The coalition said at the time that Sangeen was second-in-command to Siraj Haqqani and that he was responsible for roadside bombings and other attacks.
The Treasury Department designated four other individuals Tuesday as terrorists subject to U.S. sanctions.
They include Umar Patek, a key suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people. Patek was captured six months ago in the same northwestern Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was killed, and was escorted home to Indonesia last week under tight security to stand trial.
Patek, 41, an al-Qaida-linked Indonesian militant, had a $1 million bounty on his head when authorities caught up with him in Abbottabad — just a few miles from where U.S. commandos killed al-Qaida chief bin Laden in a raid four months later.
The other individuals designated are Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman and Abdul Rahim Ba-asyir of Indonesia, and Mumtaz Dughmush, a Palestinian.
Dughmush was targeted for leading the Gaza-based "Army of Islam," a shadowy extremist Muslim group that draws inspiration from al-Qaida though it is not believed to have operational links.
The U.S. declared the Army a terrorist organization in May. Under Dughmush's leadership, the organization has shot rockets at Israel, kidnapped an American and British journalist, and killed Egyptian civilians in 2009 attacks on Cairo and Heliopolis, the State Department said.