U.S. blacklists leader of group that attacked Pakistan school
Maulana Fazlullah has claimed to have ordered the 2012 shooting that gravely injured Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousefzai
The leader of a Taliban group that killed scores of students in an attack at a Pakistani school last month has been added to Washington's official terrorism list, the State Department said Tuesday.
Maulana Fazlullah, sometimes known as Mullah Fazlullah, has been the leader since November 2013 of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has claimed responsibility for the Peshawar school shooting and numerous other attacks.
He has claimed to have ordered the 2012 shooting that gravely injured Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousefzai, last year's Nobel Peace Prize laureate, according to the State Department.
The terror designation comes the same day that US Secretary of State John Kerry was to visit the school in Peshawar, where the horrific December 16 shooting rampage took place.
The State Department said Fazlullah has been named a "specially designated global terrorist" -- a label meant to target "terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism."
Considered to have close ties to Al-Qaeda and listed as a terrorist group by Washington since September 1, 2010, the TTP is a loose coalition of jihadist militants that has killed thousands of Pakistanis since its formation in 2007.
The organization, which was formed in reaction to a raid by Pakistani authorities on a radical mosque in Islamabad, declared a holy war against the Pakistani government which it accuses of helping the United States in its "war on terror."
Fazlullah has acknowledged being behind the killing of Pakistani Army Major General Sanaullah Niazi in September 2013.
The State Department said Fazlullah also was responsible for the beheading of 17 Pakistani soldiers after an attack in June 2012.
In addition, he allegedly ordered the targeted killings of elders who led peace committees against the Taliban.
Meanwhile, the United States was to unveil Tuesday some $250 million in aid to back Pakistan's fight against militants and develop its unruly tribal areas.
Washington has pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out the militant sanctuaries in lawless tribal areas such as North Waziristan, which have been used to launch attacks on NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan.