OTTAWA -- The federal government has officially listed the Pakistani Taliban as a terrorist organization.
The group, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, operates from northwest Pakistan in the mountainous tribal regions along the Afghanistan border.
Its stated objectives include resistance to the Pakistan government, enforcement of its harsh interpretation of Shariah law, and a plan to unite forces against NATO troops in Afghanistan.
The group has claimed responsibility for many suicide attacks in Pakistan and on a CIA base in Afghanistan, as well as the attempted bombing of New York's Times Square in May 2010.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says the threat of terrorism is "real, persistent, and evolving" and that authorities must "remain vigilant in confronting it."
The minister calls the listing under Canada's Criminal Code an essential part of Canada's efforts to combat terrorism and "keep our communities safe."
He says the Pakistani Taliban meets the legal threshold, which requires reasonable grounds to believe it has "knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity or is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with such an entity."
The listing of enables authorities to prosecute supporters of terrorism and plays a key role in countering the financing of terrorist activities.
For example, the listing prohibits people in Canada as well as every Canadian abroad from knowingly dealing with assets owned or controlled by the Pakistani Taliban.
It is also an offence to knowingly participate in, contribute to, or facilitate certain activities of a listed entity. Other related offences are set out in the Criminal Code.
The Pakistani Taliban is not directly affiliated with the original Afghan Taliban, which controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, sheltered al-Qaida terrorists and supported terrorist training.
Several years ago, Mullah Omar, leader of the Afghan Taliban, asked Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan to support the war in Afghanistan.
Pakistani Taliban leaders agreed to put aside their differences to help counter increasing numbers of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. They reaffirmed their allegiance to Mullah Omar and to Osama bin Laden.
The group has almost exclusively targeted elements of the Pakistani state, though its leaders said in April 2010 they would make U.S. cities a "main target" in response to U.S. drone strikes across the Afghan-Pakistan border.
In August 2009, a missile strike from a suspected U.S. drone killed Baitullah Mehsud, a Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan leader who commanded some 5,000 fighters and is said to have been behind numerous attacks, including the assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
The group said the December 2009 attack on the CIA's Camp Chapman in eastern Afghanistan, which killed seven CIA operatives, was in retaliation for Mehsud's death.