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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 10, 1999


                  Designation of Ariana Afghan Airlines
                       Under the Taliban Sanctions

Today the United States designated Ariana Afghan Airlines under the Taliban sanctions. This means that all of Ariana's assets within U.S. jurisdiction are now blocked and that no U.S. entity or individual can now engage in business transactions with that airline anywhere in the world.

This action by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control was taken under the authority of last month's executive order imposing sanctions on the Taliban, and after we made the determination that Ariana is an entity controlled by the Taliban. These sanctions are in response to the Taliban's continuing provision of safe haven to Usama bin Ladin, thereby allowing his Al-Qaida organization to operate a network of terrorist training camps from Taliban-controlled territory and to use Afghanistan as a base from which to sponsor terrorist operations.

Ariana is the only international carrier with regular flights in and out of Afghanistan. As such, we are concerned about the role it may play in ferrying material, personnel and finances to the Taliban. By designating the Taliban-controlled Ariana, it will be denied the benefits from dealings with U.S. businesses and financial markets.

As part of our strategy to isolate Bin Ladin and his supporters, we will continue to apply sanctions against him and those like the Taliban who support and assist him in carrying out his acts of violence. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control is reviewing reports that some foreign banks, businesses, and individuals, including persons in the Middle East, are acting for or on behalf of, or are providing material or financial support for the violent acts of Usama bin Ladin. Should these reports prove true, and if these entities and individuals do not cease their support to Usama bin Ladin, they could potentially be named as Specially Designated Terrorists and face the same sanctions prohibitions applied to Usama bin Ladin. This would mean that a foreign firm (or individual) designated for funding the violent acts of Usama bin Ladin, or his front organizations, would be denied access to the U.S. banks and financial entities. It would thus be shut out of U.S. markets and any of its property or assets within U.S. jurisdiction would be blocked.

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