WASHINGTON: The United States (US) State Department has designated Hizbul Mujahideen’s supreme commander Syed Salahuddin, the senior leader of the Kashmiri militant group, as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ and imposed sanctions on him.
Salahuddin who is also known as Mohammad Yusuf Shah, is the leader of the largest militant group that fights against the security forces in India-held-Kashmir.
The designation slaps sanctions on “foreign persons who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States,” the State Department’s statement read.
The new sanctions mean American citizens are generally barred from doing business with Salahuddin, and all his assets subject to United States jurisdiction are blocked.
The development surfaced hours ahead of the scheduled meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen for decades have been fighting around half a million Indian troops deployed in the region, calling for independence or a merger with Pakistan.
The department says that in September 2016, Salahuddin vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict. He threatened to train Kashmiri suicide bombers and turn the Kashmir valley “into a graveyard for Indian forces.”
The US says the militant group has claimed responsibility for several attacks.