Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Queens Men Accused of Supporting Terror Groups in Afghanistan

At least one of the men allegedly said he wanted to help kill U.S. soldiers because he hated the United States

By Jonathan Dienst
|  Thursday, Oct 10, 2013  |  Updated 2:10 PM EDT
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Queens Men Accused of Supporting Terror Groups

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Two men from Queens were arrested by the NYPD on charges they tried to help send supplies to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.  
 
One suspect was recorded telling an NYPD informant he wanted to help kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan because he hated the United States and “wanted to take a stand.” He also voiced admiration for Osama bin Laden, authorities said.

 
Humayoun Ghoulam Nabi and Ismail Alsarabbi are facing state terror-related charges. In court papers filed by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, the two suspects are accused of wanting to siphon money from a nonprofit organization and send assistance to Taliban-linked operatives.  
 
Investigators say there was no specific plot in New York and the arrests were made with the help of a confidential informant who recorded the suspects.
 
Authorities allege Nabi wanted to send everything from electronics to shoes and jackets abroad. NYPD officials said the men began their efforts back in 2011. The NYPD rented a warehouse in October 2012 in Queens where the suspects allegedly planned to store merchandise they planned to ship overseas.    Nabi's attorney, Ken Finkelman, said his client was a victim of entrapment. 

"For two years, the NYPD was trying to convince a guy with a wife and a child to send shoes and coats to Afghanistan," Finkelman, a Legal Aid Society lawyer, said. "If you work on someone for 18 months to two years, you can probably get someone to ship jackets and shoes somewhere, anywhere."

"Human beings can be convinced to do a lot of things," the lawyer added.

 
Calls to an attorney for Alsarabbi were not immediately returned.

Court papers identify Nabi as an immigrant from Pakistan who often spoke to the informant in Urdu. Alsarabbi is a Palestinian immigrant. 

 
Officials said Alsarabbi is also on tape allegedly telling Nabi to “send some merchandise to Afghanistan.” 
 
The men allegedly went to a Western Union office and wired more than $2,000 to Nabi’s father in Pakistan, hoping the money would be used to help get to those targeting U.S. soldiers.  
 
“We should kill them and cut them into pieces,” Nabi allegedly said.
 
U.S. officials said loosely affiliated groups in Afghanistan, from al-Qaida to the Taliban to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, regularly target U.S. and coalition forces serving in Afghanistan, and boots, winter jackets and other materials help fighters operate during the harsh winter season.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the arrests highlight the spectrum of terroristic threats with which the NYPD must contend. 
 
District Attorney Brown thanked the NYPD for its work with state and federal counterparts to take the suspects into custody.
 
"These defendants ... were not merely conspiring to supply clothing items to people in Afghanistan, they were conspiring to make the enemy more effective in engaging and killing American soldiers," Brown said in a statement. 

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