Afghan Drug King Charged with Terror Financing in New York
Posted: May 1, 2009
An Afghan drug trafficker has been charged in Manhattan federal court for allegedly conspiring to finance the Taliban’s terrorist activities, including their efforts to forcibly expel the U.S. from Afghanistan.
Haji Juma Khan, 55, is charged with narco-terrorism and terrorism financing. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, Khan allegedly provided funds to the Taliban and supported “the Taliban’s efforts to forcibly remove the United States and its allies from Afghanistan by providing financial support in the form of drug proceeds.”
Khan, who was detained by Indonesian authorities at the airport in Jakarta and turned over to the U.S. in October 2008, initially faced a single charge of conspiring to distribute narcotics with the intention of supporting a terrorist organization. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Khan is among the first defendants to be prosecuted under a 2006 federal statute against narco-terrorism, a form of terrorism in which terrorist organizations engage in drug trafficking to fund their operations.
Khan, closely aligned with the Taliban, led an international opium, morphine and heroin trafficking organization based in southern Afghanistan since 1999, according to the indictment. His organization contracted to supply other drug-traffickers with morphine base, an opium derivative, to be processed into 40-tons of heroin, a quantity large enough “to supply the entire United States heroin market for more than two years.”
Since the U.S. military intervention in late 2001 removed the Taliban from political power in Afghanistan, the Taliban has operated as an insurgent organization seeking to drive the U.S. and its allies from the country and re-impose its own rule. Afghan drug traffickers provide financing to the Taliban’s terrorist insurgency in exchange for protected drug routes, production facilities and opium poppy fields, as well as for protection for members of their drug trafficking organizations.
If convicted, Khan faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.