In a major win for India in fight against terrorism, the United States on Wednesday designated Kashmiri militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as a "foreign terrorist organisation". The decision by the US State Department comes nearly two months after it declared the group's Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist.
The designation, which slaps a series of US sanctions on the outfit, came against the backdrop of upsurge in the terror activities of the militant group in Kashmir in recent months.
"The Department of State has designated Hizbul Mujahideen—also known as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, also known as HM—as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224," the State Department said in a statement.
"These designations seek to deny Hizbul Mujahideen the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks," it said.
Among other consequences, all of Hizbul Mujahideen's property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group.
The US decision marks a severe blow to Pakistan which has been projecting the militant group as a voice of Kashmiri people.
Pakistan's powerful Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif have repeatedly praised the militant group's slain commander Burhan Wani who was killed in July last year in an encounter in Kashmir.
Formed in 1989, Hizbul Mujahideen is one of the largest and oldest militant groups operating in Kashmir. The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.
The State Department said that today’s action notifies the US public and the international community that HM is a terrorist organization.
Terrorism designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and deny them access to the US financial system, it said.
Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement activities of US agencies and other governments, it said.