A US citizen has been charged in the States with conspiracy to provide material support to a Maldivian terrorist who helped carry out a deadly attack in Pakistan in 2009.
48-year-old Reaz Qadir Khan, a waste water treatment plant operator for the city of Portland, US, was arrested on Tuesday (March 5) on a charge of providing advice and funds to Maldivian national Ali Jaleel.
On May 27, 2009, Jaleel – along with two other men – stormed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters in Lahore and detonated a car bomb that left around 23 people dead and a further 300 injured.
Prior to the attack, US media reported that in 2006 Khan had received an email from Jaleel “goading” him about his past devotion to seek martyrdom for Allah.
“Where are the words you said with tears in your eyes that ‘we shall strive until Allah’s word is superior or until we perish’???” the email stated, according to US publication The Oregonian.
Following the message, Khan had then allegedly communicated and provided financial backing through email to Jaleel and his family, making it possible for the Maldivian to attend a training camp in Pakistan ahead of the 2009 bomb attack.
The emails cited in the indictment against Khan – sent in October and November 2008 – were said to have included a coded note from Jaleel telling Khan that he needed US$2,500 to pay for admission into a terrorist training camp.
The Oregonian reported that Khan had replied to Jaleel instructing him to pick up the training camp money from one of his associates.
Jaleel, who later responded saying he only needed US$1000 of the US$2,450 that had been sent, was then advised by Khan to send the remaining money to his two wives in the Maldives, The Oregonian reported.
The indictment does not cite that there had been any other emails between November 2009 and the May 27, 2009 ISI attack.
However, US media reported that less than a week after the bombing, US$750 was wired from Khan to one of Jaleel’s wives from an Oregon store.
Khan, who has pleaded not guilty during a court appearance on Tuesday, could face life imprisonment if he is convicted at trial, US media reported.
According to The Oregonian, Khan must now remain in his Portland home until his trial on the terrorism-related charge begins.
Local media reported that Jaleel, who lived at H.Moscowge in Male, featured in a video on the internet showcasing his terrorist training and subsequent attack.
A member of Jaleel’s family told local newspaper Haveeru back in November 2009 that he had left “around a year ago” and that there had been “no further communication with him”.
Jaleel had been caught once before whilst on jihad and was sent back to Maldives. On 26 December 2006, he was also sentenced to two years’ house arrest for giving religious sermons and preaching without a licence, local media reported.
“Martyrdom was certain”
In a video released by Al Qaeda’s media outlet, 30-year-old Jaleel, referred to as Mus’ab Sayyid, can be seen speaking in front of the camera surrounded by an assortment of weaponry.
Jaleel calls for his teachers and those he knew who had taken the status of scholars to visit the Mujahideen and make “decisions” based on what they saw.
“I want my blood to be the bit of the carpet which the Mujahideen have painted from their blood. The red carpet which would take the Umar to its glory,” Jaleel says in the video.
The footage shows Jaleel going through various stages of training, including throwing what appears to be a hand grenade and firing various weapons. The video then cuts to footage of the attack.
A white van carrying armed men pulls up to what appears to be a police check point, before two men disembark and open fire on various individuals manning the post.
The van continues through the checkpoint before briefly stopping beside two men who had hidden behind a barricade, at which point the armed men appear to shoot them from inside the vehicle.
The video then shows the same white van pulling up to a large gate, before detonating the explosives.
The Pakistani government said at the time that the car bomb attack was carried out in apparent revenge for an army offensive against Taliban militants in that nation’s north-western Swat region.