U.S. Treasury blacklists alleged Turkey-based ISIS financier

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Monday blacklisted Ismatullah Khalozai, an alleged Turkey-based international financial facilitator of the ISIS Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), for providing financial support to the group.

In a statement, the Department of the Treasury said that “Ismatullah Khalozai has been an international financial facilitator for ISIS-K and has carried out missions for senior ISIS leadership”.

“For a period of two years, Ismatullah Khalozai operated a Turkey-based “hawala” business to transfer funds to finance ISIS-K operations,” it said.

Hawala is a popular and informal value transfer system based on the performance and honour of a huge network of money brokers (known as hawaladars).

The Department of the Treasury also revealed that the ISIS-K facilitator was involved in human trafficking during a refugee influx from Afghanistan to Turkey last summer.

“Khalozai has also carried out human smuggling operations for ISIS-K, including personally smuggling an ISIS-K courier from Afghanistan to Turkey,” the U.S. Treasury said.

OFAC blocks all property and interests in property of the individuals who are designated as facilitating international financial transactions that fund human trafficking networks and the movement of foreign fighters.

The Islamic State (ISIS) continues to rely on “logistical hubs” inside Turkey for its finances, the U.S. Treasury said in a report in January.

The United States Treasury Department has announced several batches of sanctions against Turkey-based financial facilitators for Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other extremist organisations in 2020 and 2021.

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