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Six individuals are charged in South Florida and Pakistan for conspiring to provide financing to murder, maim and kidnap persons overseas as well as providing financing to the Pakistani, Taliban- a designated foreign terrorist organization. South Florida U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer announced all six defendants would be charged on four-count indictments.
The defendants charged: Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76, a U.S. citizen resident of Miami; his son Irfan Khan, 37, a U.S. citizen resident of Miami; and one other son, Izhar Khan, 24, a U.S. citizen resident of North Lauderdale, Fla. Three other individuals also charged residing in Pakistan, Faisal Ali Rehman, Alam Zeb and Amina Khan. Amina Khan is daughter of Khan and her son Alam Zeb is Khan’s grandson.
Hafiz Khan and Izhar Khan were arrested by FBI agents in South Florida and are schedule to appear in federal court in Miami at 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 16, 2011. Irfan Khan was arrested in Los Angeles and is expected to make an appearance in court the same day. The remaining defendants are at large in Pakistan. If convicted for each count of the indictment-could face 15 years in prison.
The FBI in collaboration with the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) had been investigating from around 2008 through November 2010 suspicious bank accounts and wire transfers from the U.S. to the Pakistani Taliban. The funds were intended to buy guns to sustain militants, their families and support terrorism.
According to the allegations the defendants provided money and financial services to support the Pakistani, Taliban. As of December 2007, the Pakistani-based terrorist organization was formed by an alliance of radical Islamist militants. The U.S. State Department designated the Pakistani Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality act on August 12, 2010. In Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban has ties to both al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Despite being an Imam, or spiritual leader, Hafiz Khan was by no means a man of peace. Instead, as today’s charges show, he acted with others to support terrorists to further acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming. But for law enforcement intervention, these defendants would have continued to transfer funds to Pakistan to finance the Pakistani Taliban, including its purchase of guns. Dismantling terrorist networks is a top priority for this office and the Department of Justice.”
“Today terrorists have lost another funding source to use against innocent people and U.S. interests. We will not allow this country to be used as a base for funding and recruiting terrorists,” said John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Office. “I remind everyone that the Muslim and Arab-American members of our community should never be judged by the illegal activities of a few.”
According to the indictment, the Pakistani Taliban has committed remorseless violence acts against Pakistan, allies, U.S. and enforcement of strict Islamic law known as Sharia. Countless suicide bombings resulting in the death of civilians, Pakistani Police, army, government personnel, and other brutal acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming. The indictment alleges that defendant Khan supported the Pakistani Taliban through a madrassa or Islamic school. Khan alleged to use the madrassa as shelter and has sent children from the madrassa to train to kill Americans in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for attacks against U.S. interests, including the December 2009 attack bombing at a U.S. military base in Khost, Afghanistan. Along the Pakistan border seven U.S. citizens were killed. An April 2010 suicide bomb killed six Pakistani citizens at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar. On May 1, 2010, Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate an explosive device in New York City’s Times Square. Lastly, the most recent devastating suicide attack on May 13, 2011 killed 80 people at a military training facility in northwest Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.
The allegations in the indictments recorded conversations in July 2009 between Khan and Irfan plotting an attack on the Pakistani assembly that resemble the September 2008 suicide bombing of the Islamabad Marriott Hotel in Pakistan. On September 2010 another recorded conversation, Hafiz Kahn provided information to a Pakistani Taliban militant in Karachi that the mujahideen in Afghanistan had killed seven American soldiers and declared his wish that God kills 50,000 more.
In closing, Mr. Ferrer noted, “Let me be clear that this is not an indictment against a particular community or religion. Instead, today’s indictment charges six individuals for promoting terror and violence through their financial and other support of the Pakistani Taliban. Radical extremists know no boundaries; they come in all shapes and sizes and are not limited by religion, age or geography.”
An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
(Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation Miami Field Office)