Prosecutors have charged two New York City men with collecting money and equipment for the Taliban, and said one of the men was so angry about the killing of Osama bin Laden that he wanted to “kill and cut [U.S. soldiers] to pieces.”
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the arrests “demonstrate the spectrum of terrorism threats that the New York City Police Department must continue to guard against.” An attorney for one of the men, however, claimed the case was “entrapment.”
Just two weeks after the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden, said prosecutors, Humayoun Ghoulam Nabi, 27, told a confidential informant that he “hated the United States and … wanted to take a stand” by building a “small army.”
"Curse our life,” Nabi allegedly said. “We are sitting here in peace eating chicken … and our brothers, they are dying, buddy.”
Nabi, a Pakistani national living in Queens, allegedly told the informant that he wanted to establish a non-profit to funnel money to the Taliban, because when he had tried to send money by other means, he had been questioned about where the money was going.
Nabi allegedly said it was not the government’s business if he wanted to send funds to the Taliban, and that the source of the U.S. military’s success in Afghanistan was its good warm-weather gear and its other equipment, including goggles and GPS.
According to the complaint, Nabi said U.S. soldiers would be weak without the gear, despite their “big muscles.” He also said that his ultimate goal was to provide weapons to fighters in Afghanistan, but was not yet ready to do so, and preferred to focus on providing clothing and electronics.
In March 2012, according to the complaint, the confidential informant gave Nabi $3,900. The second defendant, 32-year-old U.S. citizen from Brooklyn named Ismail Alsarabbi, then allegedly told Nabi that he should send the money to Nabi’s father in Pakistan. Nabi would allegedly later say that his father had “zillions of trucks” moving in and out of Kabul. Police allegedly followed the confidential informant and the defendants to a Western Union office, where records allegedly show that $2,000 was sent to Lahore.
Nabi allegedly said of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan that, “They should kill them and cut them to pieces.”
The NYPD then rented a warehouse in Queens where the confidential informant could “store” equipment intended for the Taliban. In November 2012, a Brooklyn man identified as “Brother Mohammed” provided Alsarabbi and Nabi with three ski jackets and three pairs of boots.
Nabi then allegedly presented the items to an undercover officer in a Queens hotel and said it was a sample of what he could provide for the “brothers” in Afghanistan. Nabi allegedly said it was time to “make a move” and that he wanted to supply further items to the undercover officer.
According to the complaint, Nabi later admitted to authorities in written and oral statements that he wanted to provide supplies to the Taliban because he hates Jews, the U.S. and U.S. soldiers and wanted to “level the playing field.”
The Queens County District Attorney has charged Nabi and Alsarabbi with two counts of providing material support to terrorists and one count of conspiracy. State terror charges are rare, since most terror cases are handled by federal prosecutors.
“Our office worked closely with the Intelligence Division of the New York City Police Department on a long-term investigation,” said Queens DA Richard Brown. “Whether the threat is posed by a large organized enterprise or a lone wolf, we must remain vigilant to identify and respond promptly and effectively.”
Legal Aid lawyer Ken Finkelman, who is representing Nabi, said that “nothing would have happened” without the NYPD’s determination to make a case.
“For 18 months, for two years, the NYPD was trying to convince a guy with a wife and a child to send shoes and coats to Afghanistan,” said Finkelman. “It’s totally entrapment.”
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First published October 10 2013, 11:40 AM