U.S. Sanctions Afghan Taliban Prisoner For Aiding Al-Qaeda

The U.S. Treasury has placed sanctions on an alleged senior Taliban member, Maulawi Abdul Rashid Baluch, who was arrested by Afghan authorities a year ago.

The Treasury said Rashid had been the Taliban's shadow governor of Nimroz Province in the country's southwest, where he helped arrange bombs and deployed suicide bombers aimed at coalition forces and Afghan officials.

Rashid was also a liaison to Al-Qaeda as of 2013, arranging meetings between the Taliban leadership and Al-Qaeda members in Karachi, Pakistan, the Treasury said.

He also allegedly raised money for the Taliban by offering protection for the narcotics trade in the region.

"Maulawi Abdul Rashid Baluch has been closely involved in violent attacks and illicit activities" since at least 2007, said Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism, on June 24.

U.S. law allows the Treasury Department to freeze the U.S. assets of any "specially designated global terrorist," and forbids Americans from any dealings with him.

Based on reporting by AFP and The Wall Street Journal