U.S. Treasury targets money exchange operator linked to Taliban

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:58am EST

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WASHINGTON Feb 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury said on Tuesday it had imposed sanctions on an Afghanistan-based money exchange operator accused of backing the Taliban's military and narcotics-trade operations.

The department said Mullah Ahmed Shah Noorza owns and operates the Roshan Money Exchange (RMX), which has already been designated by the United States under an executive order targeting those who "commit, threaten to commit or support terrorism."

"RMX stores and transfers funds and profits in support of Taliban military operations as well as the Taliban's role in the Afghan narcotics trade," the Treasury said in a statement.

The U.S. action freezes any assets Ahmed Shah has in U.S. banks and bars U.S. companies individuals from doing business with him. It also publicizes U.S. concerns about his operations.

"We will continue to target financial activity linked to the Taliban as they increasingly turn to exchange houses to fund their continued violence," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said. (Reporting By Doug Palmer; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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