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Turkey freezes assets of financial facilitator for ISIL’s Afghanistan affiliate

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Turkey has frozen the assets of Ismatullah Khalozai, an individual designated by the US as a financial facilitator for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) Khorasan Province (ISIL-Khorasan), active in Afghanistan and commonly referred to as “ISIS-K,” the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Wednesday.

The decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to freeze Khalozai’s assets in Turkey was published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday.

The decision was made due to Khalozai’s “financial facilitation and human trafficking activities on behalf of the DAESH-Khorasan terrorist organization” and in line with the request of a foreign state within the scope of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, according to the Official Gazette.

In November 2021 the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Khalozai as a financial facilitator for ISIL, saying he had provided support to ISIS-K’s operations in Afghanistan by facilitating international financial transactions that fund human trafficking networks and the movement of foreign fighters who seek to escalate tensions in Afghanistan and the region.

“For a period of two years, Ismatullah Khalozai operated a Turkey-based hawala business to transfer funds to finance ISIS-K operations. … [He] has also carried out human smuggling operations for ISIS-K, including personally smuggling an ISIS-K courier from Afghanistan to Turkey,” the Treasury said in a press release.

Turkey declared ISIL a terrorist organization in 2013 and has been attacked by the jihadist group multiple times since then. A total of 315 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb blasts and four armed attacks organized by ISIL in the country.

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