A Houston man has been sentenced to 54 months in prison for conspiring to join the Taliban and fight against U.S. forces.
Kobie Diallo Williams, 36, was sentenced on August 7, 2009, in U.S. District court in Houston, for conspiring to unlawfully possess firearms by an alien and supporting the Taliban. Williams, also known as Abdul Kabir, conspired with three other foreign nationals to train with firearms in preparation to join the Taliban "to engage in battlefield jihad."
In 2005 and 2006, on at least six different occasions, Williams and the other men - Adnan Babar Mirza, Syed Maaz Shah and Shiraz Syed Qazi - engaged in paramilitary training, which they reportedly disguised as camping trips, and practiced target and sniper training. The men also discussed plans to join the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to court documents, and Williams admitted to contributing at least $350 to the group in its efforts against the U.S. military.
Williams, a computer science student at the University of Houston at the time of his arrest, and Mirza, a Pakistani national who attended a Houston Community College, allegedly agreed to "hone their skills in anticipation for battlefield jihad" and to travel to the Middle East to fight with the Taliban, according to the indictment.
Two government informants reportedly began building a case against the men after one of the informants told federal officials that he believed some of the men were preparing to fight overseas. The informants set up a 2005 camping trip in Willis in order to catch the men.
Williams pleaded guilty soon after his arrest in November 2006. He apologized to the court for his actions, which he explained were inconsistent with his Muslim faith, before his sentence was handed down.
Mirza, who was also charged with conspiracy to help the Taliban and with three weapons charges, is scheduled to go to trial in October. Shah, a former engineering student at the University of Texas at Dallas, was sentenced to 6 years in prison in 2007 on federal firearm charges. Qazi, also a Pakistani student, was sentenced to 10 months in prison in 2007 on weapons charges.