US citizen charged with using WMD in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A New York court on Wednesday indicted a US citizen for allegedly using weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against an American base in Afghanistan.
If convicted, Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 30, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
According to court papers, Farekh assisted in the preparation of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) for use in the attack on the US military base.
On January 19, 2009, two co-conspirators drove explosives-packed vehicles to the US military base in Afghanistan. The first co-conspirator detonated the VBIED during the attack.
The second drove a truck containing a second VBIED to the base, but did not detonate the device. Farekh’s fingerprints were subsequently recovered from packing tape on the VBIED that did not detonate.
According to the superseding indictment filed in a US district court in New York, between December 2006 and September 2009, Farekh provided, attempted to provide and conspired to provide material support to Al-Qaeda.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges on January 7.
“Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh is charged with conspiring to kill Americans overseas for his role in a VBIED attack on a US military installation in Afghanistan,” said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin.
“Counterterrorism is the highest priority of the National Security Division, and we will continue to use all tools available to bring to justice those who seek to harm American servicemen and women who bravely risk their lives in defense of our nation,” he added.
This indictment demonstrated justice had no bounds and the US government would seek to investigate and prosecute crimes against Americans, no matter where they took place, said FBI Assistant Director Diego Rodriguez.
Court documents said in 2007, Farekh and two co-conspirators departed Canada for Pakistan with the intention of fighting against American forces in Afghanistan.
They did not inform their families of their plan before departing, but called a friend in Canada upon arrival to let him know he should not expect to hear from them again because they intended to become martyrs.
One of Farekh’s co-conspirators – Farid Imam – subsequently provided weapons and military-type training at an Al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan in September 2008.
Among Imam’s trainees were three individuals -- Najibullah Zazai, Zarein Ahmadzai and Adis Medunjanin -- who intended to return to the US to conduct a suicide attack on the New York City subway system.
Zazai and Ahmadzai pleaded guilty pursuant to cooperation agreements and have yet to be sentenced; Medunjanin was convicted sentenced to life in prison. Imam has also been indicted for his role in the plot.
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