For Immediate Release
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
December 20, 2001
Day 100 of the War on Terrorism: More Steps to Shut Down Terrorist Support Networks
- Our attack on terrorist finances is progressing. The assets of more than 150 known terrorists, their organizations, and their bankers have been frozen by the United States. 142 countries have issued blocking orders of their own.
President George W. Bush
December 20, 2001
- President Bush today announced the blocking of assets of Umma Tameer-e-Nau (UTN), a non-governmental organization founded by Pakistani nuclear scientists that has provided information to Usama bin Laden and the Taliban about chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Today's designation also blocks the assets of three key directors of UTN: Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood, founder of UTN and formerly the director for nuclear power at the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC); Abdul Majeed, a former high- ranking official at the PAEC and an expert in nuclear fuels; and S.M. Tufail, an industrialist.
- President Bush also announced the blocking of assets of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET), a Kashmiri terrorist organization that has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir since 1993.
- Today's action is taken under the authority of Executive Order 13224, signed by the President on September 23, which authorizes aggressive actions against the bankers of international terrorism.
- With today's action, the U.S. has now designated 158 individuals and organizations pursuant to Executive Order 13224.
Umma Tameer-E-Nau (UTN)
- UTN was founded by Pakistani nuclear scientists with close ties to Usama bin Laden and the Taliban.
- The leader of UTN, Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood, founded UTN after leaving the PAEC, where he most recently served as Director for Nuclear Power. He previously served as the director of Pakistan's Khushab Atomic Reactor and was involved in the early days of Pakistan's uranium enrichment program. The Khushab atomic plant now produces enough plutonium for as many as two nuclear bombs a year. For his work at Khuschab, Mahmood received one of the highest civilian awards in Pakistan.
- Mahmood left the PAEC after criticizing the Government of Pakistan's movement towards signing the comprehensive test ban treaty. He has also advocated equipping other Islamic nations with enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium.
- UTN has been linked to WAFA Humanitarian Organization and Al Rashid Trust, two other non-governmental organizations with ties to al-Qaeda that were designated on September 23, 2001 as supporters of terrorism under Executive Order 13224.
UTN Has Advised The Taliban, Usama bin Laden, And Al-Qaeda About The Development Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction
- During repeated UTN visits to Afghanistan, UTN directors and members have met with Usama bin Laden, al-Qaeda leaders, and Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, and discussed the development of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
- During 2001, Mahmood met with Mullah Omar and with Usama bin Laden. During a follow-up meeting, an associate of Usama bin Laden indicated he had nuclear material and wanted to know how to use it to make a weapon. Mahmood provided information about the infrastructure needed for a nuclear weapons program and the effects of nuclear weapons.
- In November 2001, the Taliban left Kabul and the workers at UTN's Kabul offices fled the area with them. Searches of UTN locations in Kabul have yielded documents setting out a plan to kidnap a U.S. attache and outlining basic nuclear physics related to nuclear weapons.
- Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET) is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI), a Sunni anti-US missionary organization formed in 1989. LET is one of the three largest and best-trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India, and is not connected to a political party. LET's leader is MDI chief, Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.
- LET has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir since 1993. LET is suspected of eight separate attacks in August that killed nearly 100, mostly Hindu Indians. LET militants are suspected of kidnapping six persons in Akhala, India, in November 2000 and killing five of them.
- LET has several hundred members in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions. In their operations, LET uses assault rifles, light and heavy machineguns, mortars, explosives, and rocket propelled grenades.
- LET is based in Muridke (near Lahore) and Muzaffarabad. LET trains its militants in mobile training camps across Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan. LET collects donations from the Pakistani community in the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen. The amount of LT funding is unknown. LET maintains ties to religious/military groups around the world, ranging from the Philippines to the Middle East and Chechnya through the MDI fraternal network.