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Two groups added to U.S. terror freeze list

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In another step in the financial war on terror, the U.S. government has added the names of two charities operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan to its list of "Specially Designated Global Terrorists," the Treasury Department announced Wednesday.

The organizations, the Afghan Support Committee and the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, are not believed to have any assets in the United States but are suspected of having ties to Osama bin Laden.

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If assets are found in the United States, they immediately would be frozen. The list also bars business transactions with the groups.

In addition, the groups' directors were added to the terrorist list, according to the Treasury Department's Web site.

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said the groups were raising money under false pretexts and "stealing from widows and orphans to fund al Qaeda terrorism."

"They were leading people to believe that they were giving money for good and worthy charitable purposes that compassionate people around the world would be inclined to give money to. In fact, they were taking these monies and feeding them into terrorist activities," he said.

The department's Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a bulletin Wednesday announcing the additions to the list.

The Treasury Department did not say how much the administration believes these groups have raised for al Qaeda.

The Revival of Islamic Heritage Society is based in Kuwait, but the Bush administration will target its operations only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a senior Treasury Department official said.

The official said the United States does not suspect that the charity was organized to raise money for al Qaeda and said its headquarters may not know what was happening.

The White House has been encouraging countries around the world to freeze the assets of any individuals or groups on the U.S. list. So far, $34 million in assets believed to be linked to terrorists have been frozen in the United States and $33 million has been frozen abroad, the government says.

CNN's Kelly Wallace and Allen Dodds Frank contributed to this report.




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