LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has moved to ban the Pakistani Taliban as a terrorist group, making it illegal to belong to or raise funds for the organisation in Britain, the government said on Tuesday.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is the group most influenced by al Qaeda and is the main militant alliance based in northwestern Pakistan, focussing on attacking the Pakistani state, which it considers illegitimate.
Home Secretary Theresa May introduced the order, which needs legislative approval, in parliament on Monday and it will be debated later this week. The order would ban Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan under the British Terrorism Act.
“Proscription is a tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism and is not a course of action we take lightly,” said a statement from May whose order states she believes the group “is concerned in terrorism.”
“Proscription means that membership of Tehrik-e-Taliban will become a criminal offence, and the organisation will not be able to lawfully operate in the UK, including by raising funds.”
Last year, the group threatened attacks on the United States and Europe.
It also claimed responsibility for an attack last July in Mohmand, a Pashtun region on Pakistan’s northwestern border with Afghanistan which killed 102 people and wounded at least 80.
Last October, a Pakistani intelligence official said a British man killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan had ties with a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen who tried to set off a car bomb in New York’s busy Times Square in May.
The official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters the Briton, Abdul Jabbar, had also been in the process of setting up a branch for the Taliban in Britain.
Forty-six groups considered by Britain to be international terrorist organisations are banned under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Louise Ireland