The Department of State has designated Ansar al-Dine (AAD) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of the designation, U.S. persons are prohibited from knowingly providing material support or resources to AAD, and all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which AAD has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the organization or to its benefit.
AAD has also been listed by the United Nations 1267/1989 al-Qa’ida Sanctions Committee. The UN listing requires all member states to implement an assets freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against AAD. The UN action demonstrates international resolve to eliminate AAD’s violent activities in Mali and the surrounding region.
Ansar al-Dine is an organization operating in Mali which cooperates closely with al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. AAD was created in late 2011 after AAD’s leader, Iyad ag Ghali, failed in an attempt to take over a secular Tuareg organization due to his extremist views. Ghali was designated by the Department of State under E.O. 13224 on February 26, 2013.
AAD has received support from AQIM since its inception in late 2011, and continues to maintain close ties to the group. AAD has received backing from AQIM in its fight against Malian and French forces, most notably in the capture of the Malian towns of Agulhok, Tessalit, Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu, between January and April 2012. In AAD’s March 2012 attack against the town of Aguelhok, the group executed 82 Malian soldiers and kidnapped 30 more. Before the French intervention in January 2013, Malian citizens in towns under AAD’s control who did not comply with AAD’s laws faced harassment, torture, or execution.