White House marks 100 days in war on terrorism
Bush targets two additional organizations
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush announced Thursday that he was blocking the assets of two more organizations believed to be funneling money to terrorists and terrorist organizations on what the White House called the 100th day of the war on terrorism.
Bush said the group Umma Tameer-e-Nau (UTN) was ostensibly organized by a former official of the Pakistani atomic energy commission as a charity to help Afghan civilians but instead is providing information about nuclear weapons to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. Three UTN directors were also added to the administration's list of those who support terrorists.
"Al Qaeda has international supporters and some of those supporters disguise themselves in the guise of charity," the president said.
The other group targeted was Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LAT), which Bush said is an extremist group seeking to destroy relations between Pakistan and India and undermine Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
The newly targeted groups are not believed to have any offices or assets in the United States, so the move would be somewhat symbolic, with the president calling on countries around the world to freeze or block the groups' financial assets.
Both groups are believed to be front groups for terrorists, according to a senior Bush adviser.
The president also condemned the recent terrorist attack on India's parliament, which India has blamed on the LAT group.
"These attacks on Indian's parliament buildings remind us that whatever grievances or causes the terrorists may cite, their real target is democracy and freedom," he said.
India has accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of supporting militant separatist groups fighting in Kashmir, which is the only majority-Muslim province in Hindu-dominated India. Pakistan's government has denied India's allegations of involvement, but said it would consider action against anyone based in Pakistan if India gave proof.
The tensions between India and Pakistan have complicated the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan as the United States is relying on Pakistan's support of the campaign.
The United States has urged the rival neighbors to exercise restraint, and Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the situation "has the potential of becoming very dangerous."
Bush noted that LAT is a "stateless sponsor of terrorism."
Bush made the announcement in the Rose Garden as he discussed the progress in the war on terrorism. The president was flanked by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Powell.
"I'm optimistic about the future of our struggle against terror. I know we've accomplished a lot so far, and we've got a lot more to do." Bush said.
Bush cited a variety of accomplishments, including a crackdown on terrorism financing, improving airport security, assembling an international coalition against terrorism and removing the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.
The White House also released a 25-page report, titled "The Global War on Terrorism: The First 100 Days," outlining the developments on the diplomatic, financial, military, humanitarian and law enforcement fronts. It also detailed the fight against terror in the United States and the aid going to the survivors of the terrorist attacks.
More than $33 million in assets of terrorist organizations have been frozen in the United States, and other nations have blocked another $33 million, the report said.
Earlier this month, Bush ordered the freezing of the assets of a U.S.-based foundation, The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. Although this group was not accused of being linked to al Qaeda, the Bush administration said it was funneling money to the Palestinian militant organization Hamas.
According to the report, 136 countries offered a "diverse" range of military assistance to the campaign on terrorism and the American people have contributed at least $1.3 billion to charities to help the families of the more than 3,000 victims killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the hijacked airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania.
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