Press Center

 Treasury Department Statement Regarding the Designation of Ansar al-Islam


2/20/2003

FROM THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

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The United States government is taking action today to designate Ansar al-Islam (AI), formerly known as Jund al-Islam, as a terrorist group with links to Al-Qa�ida and to notify the United Nations to ensure that any assets or transactions related to this group are frozen internationally.  AI is a terrorist group operating in northeastern Iraq with close links to and support from al-Qa�ida.  Al-Qa�ida and Usama bin Laden participated in the formation and funding of Ansar al-Islam, and AI has provided safe haven to al-Qa�ida in northeastern Iraq.  AI�s predecessor, Jund al-Islam, was formed in September 2001.  AI came into being with the �blessing� of bin Laden after its leaders visited al-Qa�ida in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001.  Bin Laden provided AI with an estimated $300,000 to $600,000 in seed money.  AI has acknowledged that it contracted �Islamic figures abroad� before declaring jihad in northeastern Iraq.

Ansar al-Islam has received training and logistical assistance from al-Qa�ida.  Groups of AI�s Kurdish members have traveled to Afghanistan to train with al-Qa�ida, while AI�s foreign members are believed to be al-Qa�ida-trained veterans of conflicts in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

Ansar al-Islam has a close association with senior al-Qa�ida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a poisons and chemical weapons expert whose network has established a poison and explosives training camp in the area of northeastern Iraq that is controlled by Ansar al-Islam.  Zarqawi�s lieutenants help run this camp, which teaches operatives how to produce ricin and other poisons.

Ansar al-Islam (whose cadres include Kurdish, Arab, and Pashtun members) has declared �jihad� against secular and non-Islamic groups in northeastern Iraq and conducts violent attacks against Kurdish groups in the region, such as the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). 
 
This action today is yet another step in uncovering the tangled web of al Qa�ida and its alliances throughout the world.  Including today�s action there are 260 individuals, entities and organizations listed pursuant to the President�s Executive Order 13224, whose assets must be frozen in the United States and with whom U.S persons may not do business or support.  Since September 11, 2001, $124.5 million has been blocked worldwide.  Of that amount, $36.2 million has been blocked in the United States.  Over 165 countries and jurisdictions have taken concrete actions to disrupt the financing of terrorism.

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