New York man planning to join Taliban in Afghanistan arrested in US

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New York, 27 July: A 33-year-old New York man, plotting to travel to Pakistan and then to cross the border into Afghanistan to join the Taliban, was arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support for “terror plots” to kill US nationals and soldiers abroad.

Delowar Mohammed Hossain of the Bronx was charged on Friday in a criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support for acts of terrorism, specifically in support of killing US nationals located overseas.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Hossain was arrested at the John F Kennedy International Airport here by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as he attempted to board a plane to Thailand.

“As alleged, Hossain planned to travel overseas and join the Taliban in order to kill American soldiers,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said.

The criminal complaint filed in the Manhattan federal court said that beginning in the fall of 2018, Hossain expressed his desire to join the Taliban and fight against American forces. Over the months that followed, he attempted to recruit a confidential source of the FBI to travel with him from the United States to Pakistan and then to cross the border into Afghanistan to join the Taliban.

Hossain told the source that his purpose was to “fight the American government from there…combined with the Taliban”, and that “I want to kill some…(non-believers) before I die”.

He also described to the undercover source the steps he had taken to prevent detection of his plan, such as planning to reach Pakistan by first flying to Thailand, which Hossain believed would conceal his ultimate goal of joining the Taliban.

At the same time, he made preparations to fight in Afghanistan, including buying equipment such as walkie-talkies and trekking gear and instructing the source to save money “to buy weapons” after reaching Afghanistan.

Hossain had purchased an airline ticket for a plane scheduled to depart from JFK to Thailand on Friday.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said Hossain wanted to kill Americans and particularly wanted to target members of the US armed forces serving overseas.

Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI William Sweeney Jr said the “lure of radical ideologies comes from many sources and just because the Taliban may seem like an old and out of vogue extremist group, it should not be underestimated”.

He added that law enforcement authorities stopped Hossain from travelling overseas to allegedly support a “deadly organisation and kept him from his alleged plan to kill innocent people”.

New York Police Commissioner James O’Neil said attempting to support terrorist attacks will lead to arrest, as has been seen time and again.

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