OTTAWA, Oct 24 (Reuters) Canada has officially branded the Hezb-i-Islami party headed by former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as a terrorist organization, Public Security Minister Stockwell Day said today.
The party is allied with Taliban militants. Hekmatyar, who was briefly prime minister in the 1990s, earlier this year pledged allegiance to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and is believed to be hiding in the border region with Pakistan.
''The government of Canada has determined that this entity knowingly engages in terrorist activity,'' Day said in a statement. Canada has 2,300 troops in southern Afghanistan battling the Taliban.
The listing brings to 40 the number of organizations Canada has labeled as terrorist. The government can now seize Hezb-i-Islamican assets and people found guilty of dealing in its assets or finances can be imprisoned for up to 10 years.
REUTERS AB HT2325