U.S. sanctions Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen

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Syed Salahuddin,leader of Kashmiri militant group, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, speaks during an Interview with Reuters in this photo taken in Rawalpindi May 31, 2006. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed/Files)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday said it had sanctioned Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest of the anti-Indian Kashmiri militant groups fighting in the Himalayan territory divided between Pakistan and India.

The U.S. Treasury Department, in a statement on its website, said it had listed the Pakistan-based group as a counter- designated group, freezing any assets it may hold in the Untied States and prohibiting Americans from dealings with it.

“These designations seek to deny HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks,” the U.S. State Department said in a separate statement.

In announcing the designation, the State Department said the group had claimed responsibility for several attacks, including one in 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir that left 17 people injured.

Last month, the United States also designated Syed Salahuddin, a militant commander for the group, as a terrorist – a label he denounced.

Such designations are aimed at denying individuals and entities access to the U.S. financial system.

Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir as a whole. Pakistan has denied giving material help to Kashmiri separatists but has pledged to provide continued diplomatic and moral support. India blames Pakistan for stoking the 28-year-old revolt in Muslim-majority Kashmir and has stepped up its pressure on Pakistan over the conflict.

 

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