The United States designated al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, or AQIS, as a "foreign terrorist organization" on Thursday and called its leader, Asim Umar, a "specially designated global terrorist."
The U.S. State Department took the action after the group claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks, including a 2014 incident in which the militants attempted to hijack a docked Pakistani naval frigate in Karachi.The raid left one Pakistani officer and three of the attackers dead, while seven sailors were wounded.
In addition, more recently, the al-Qaida group has claimed responsibility for the killing of Bangladeshi atheists, gay rights activists, Internet bloggers, an American citizen and a U.S. embassy employee.
The State Department said the terrorist designations are meant to prohibit Americans from engaging in any transactions with the group or Umar.The designations also freeze any assets or property under U.S. jurisdiction that are tied to Umar or AQIS.
Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the formation of the group on the Indian subcontinent in 2014 and Umar has appeared in al-Qaida propaganda as the leader of the Indian offshoot. Umar is believed to be based in Pakistan but was born in the mid-1970s in India.