updated 8/7/2009 7:08:17 PM ET 2009-08-07T23:08:17

An American apologized for his actions before being sentenced Friday to 4 1/2 years in prison for conspiring to join the Taliban and fight against U.S. forces.

Kobie Diallo Williams, a U.S. citizen, was one of four men arrested in 2006 for taking part in paramilitary training exercises around the Houston area. The training, which was disguised as camping trips, was designed to help the men hone their skills so they could join the Taliban in fighting against U.S. troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Williams, 36, also known as Abdul Kabir, had pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge right after his arrest. Prosecutors said he viewed U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq as "invaders." He was a student at the University of Houston-Downtown when he was arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Williams, who is Muslim, said his actions, which included providing about $350 to Taliban members or their families, were very impulsive and reactionary and that he lost his original focus of helping the poor and needy.

'Change Muslim youth'
"I have a new focus. I am looking to change Muslim youth that is going in a similar direction I was headed. I will advise them to search a better path," said Williams, who was also fined $5,000.

Authorities said Williams didn't have any real contact with terrorist groups and didn't travel outside the United States.

Adnan Babar Mirza, a Pakistani who was also charged with conspiracy to help the Taliban as well as with three weapons charges, is set to go on trial Oct. 5.

Syed Maaz Shah, a former engineering student at the University of Texas at Dallas, was sentenced in 2007 to 6 1/2 years in prison on federal firearms charges. Shiraz Syed Qazi, also a Pakistani student, received a 10 month prison sentence in 2007 on a similar charge.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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