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 U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq


10/14/2003
   

FROM THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

JS-899


WASHINGTON � The U.S. Treasury Department today announced that it is
designating Al Akhtar Trust as a terrorist support organization under Executive Order 13224 and will be requesting that the United Nations list the organization as a terrorist support group.  Today�s designation freezes any assets of Al Akhtar Trust within the U.S. and prohibits transactions with U.S. nationals.  The UN listing will require that all UN Member States take similar actions.

�Today�s designation strikes at the life blood of terrorists -- the money that funds them,� Secretary of the Treasury John Snow stated.  �Shutting down this organization will cripple yet another source of support for terrorists and possibly help undermine the financial backing of terrorists staging attacks against American troops and Iraqi civilians in Iraq.  The activities of Al Akhtar Trust demonstrate the dangerous alliance between corrupted charities and terrorists.  There is little more despicable than raising money under the guise of doing good and instead diverting the resources of often well-intentioned donors to supporting acts of terror.�

Al Akhtar Trust is a Pakistani based charity known to have provided support to al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan.  Al Akhtar is carrying on the activities of the previously designated Al Rashid Trust.  The organization is also suspected of raising money for jihad in Iraq and is connected to an individual with ties to the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl.  This designation builds on ongoing counter-terrorism cooperation with the Pakistani government and comes on the heels of Secretary Snow's recent visit to Islamabad.

With today�s designation, the U.S. and our international partners have designated 321 individuals and organizations as terrorists and terrorist supporters and have frozen over $136.8 million in terrorist assets and have seized more than $60 million.

A fact sheet providing more details on today�s designation is attached.

FACT SHEET
AL AKHTAR TRUST INTERNATIONAL
INTRODUCTION

Al Akhtar Trust International is linked to the following persons/entities designated by the U.S. under Executive Order 13224: the Taliban and Al Qaida and Al- Rashid Trust, among others. An associate of Al Akhtar Trust has attempted to raise funds to finance obligatory jihad in Iraq, and it has been reported that a financier of Al Akhtar Trust has been linked to the kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal's South Asia Bureau Chief, Daniel Pearl.

IDENTIFIER INFORMATION

AL AKHTAR TRUST
AL-AKHTAR TRUST INTERNATIONAL

� ST -1/A, Gulsahn-E-lqbal, Block 2, Karachi 25300, Pakistan
� Al-Akhtar Medical Centre, Gulistan-E-Jauhar, Block 12, Karachi, Pakistan
� Regional Offices in Pakistan: Bawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Gilgit, Islamabad, Mirpur Khas, and Tando-Jan-Muhammad
� Akhtarabad Medical Camp, Spin Boldak, Afghanistan

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

According to information available to the U.S. government, following the house arrest of the group leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, Masoud Azhar, Jaish-e- Mohammed members set up two organizations registered in Pakistan as humanitarian aid agencies: AL AKHTAR TRUST and Alkhair Trust. Jaish-e- Mohammed hoped to give the impression that the two new organizations were separate entities and sought to use them as a way to deliver arms and ammunition to their members under the guise of providing humanitarian aid to refugees and other needy groups. (Jaish-e-Mohammed was designated by the U.S. on October 12, 2001 and by the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee on October 17, 2001).

Pakistani newspaper reporting in November 2000 indicated that AL AKHTAR TRUST INTERNATIONAL was established under the supervision of prominent religious scholars for the purpose of providing financial assistance for mujahideen, financial support to the Taliban and food, clothes, and education to orphans of martyrs. (The Taliban has been designated by the US and UN.) At a ceremony in Islamabad celebrating the establishment of the Trust, the Information Secretary of Harkatul Mujahideen, Maulana Allah Wasaya Qasim, termed the establishment of AL AKHTAR TRUST as "commendable" and stated that religious scholars should have entered the field earlier. (Harkatul Mujahideen was designated by the U.S. on September 23, 2001 and by the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee on October 6, 2001.) There was an appeal to the people to support generously the AL AKHTAR TRUST.

According to information available to the U.S. Government, the Chairman and Chief Executive of AL AKHTAR TRUST is Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar, a Pakistani citizen. When asked about his services in Afghanistan and his special relations with Mullah Omar, Supreme Commander of the Taliban, Akhtar stated that their services for the Taliban and Mullah Omar were known to the world. (Mullah Omar, aka Mohammed Omar, has been designated by the U.S. and the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee.

Operation Enduring Freedom, the military phase of the war against terrorism, began on October 7, 2001. The U.S. government has information that, as of mid- November 2001, the AL AKHTAR TRUST was secretly treating wounded Al Qaida members at the medical centers it was operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Al Qaida has been designated by both the U.S. and UN 1267 Sanctions Committee).

During a custodial interview in early 2003, a senior Al Qaida detainee related that AL AKHTAR TRUST and Al-Rashid Trust were the primary relief agencies that Al Qaida used to move supplies into Qandahar, Afghanistan. This detainee was aware of one shipment, in 2001, arranged by an Al Qaida operative that included a "room full" of cartons. The detainee was not aware of the contents of the cartons, but believed that either Al-Rashid Trust or AL AKHTAR TRUST was used for the shipment.

In 2002, Al-Rashid Trust and AL AKHTAR TRUST decided to start a drive to collect donations from the business/industrial circles of Pakistan. Mullah Izatullah, an Al Qaida official living in Chaman, Pakistan, was associated with both Al-Rashid Trust and AL AKHTAR TRUST. Al-Rashid Trust was designated by the U.S. on September 23, 2001 and by the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee on October 6, 2001. Information in the possession of the U.S. Government indicates that, as of mid-March 2002, AL AKHTAR TRUST was conducting all activities of the former Al-Rashid Trust.

During a custodial interview in mid-April 2003, a senior Al Qaida detainee stated that Al-Rashid Trust and AL AKHTAR TRUST provided donations to Al Qaida. While Al Qaida was based in Qandahar, Afghanistan, these organizations provided donations in the form of blankets and clothing to Al Qaida members. When Al Qaida members fled from Qandahar in late 2001, these organizations provided the families of Al Qaida members with financial assistance.

AL AKHTAR TRUST was providing a wide range of support to Al-Qaida and Pakistani based sectarian and jihadi groups, specifically Lashkar-e- Tayyiba, Lashkar-I-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Mohammed. (All three of these organizations have been designated by the U.S.) These efforts included providing financial and logistical support as well as arranging travel for Islamic extremists.

According to information available to the U.S. Government from March 2003, an associate of AL AKHTAR TRUST was attempting to raise funds in order to finance "obligatory jihad" in Iraq (i.e., because fatwas had been issued, Muslims were obligated to support jihad in Iraq). Donors were told they could contact AL AKHTAR TRUST via email for additional information.

A financier of AL AKHTAR TRUST is also reported to have ties to the kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal's South Asia Bureau. Chief, Daniel Pearl. According to an article appearing in the Wall Street Journal, on or about January 31 or February 1, 2002, citing Pakistani police, a man named Saud Memon drove into the compound where Daniel Pearl was being held, along with three Arabic-speaking men. The compound was owned by Mr. Memon, a garment manufacturer, and was located in the northern outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan. Eventually, the three Arabic-speaking men, along with one of Mr. Memon's employees, were left alone with Daniel Pearl in one room of the compound. One of these men turned on a video camera, and another asked Mr. Pearl questions about his religious background. After the videotaped statement by Mr. Pearl, he was blindfolded and killed.

Shortly after the murder, Pakistani police sealed Mr. Memon's home in Karachi, which also contained his garment business. Mr. Memon remains one of the key figures still at large in the Pearl slaying. Photos of him along with other alleged conspirators have been published throughout Pakistan, and a reward has been offered for information leading to their arrest.

According to the article, Mr. Memon is a known financier for militant groups in association with the Al-Rashid Trust, which is described in the article as having changed its name to Al AKHTAR TRUST. According to information available to the U.S. government, an individual by the name of Al-Saud Memon is the individual primarily responsible for the AL AKHTAR TRUST's finances and the direction of financial resources and support for the Trust.

  
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