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African Al Qaida Suspect In US Custody

  • Cindy Shiner

Pakistani officials say a top al-Qaida suspect captured in Pakistan was handed over to US officials this week and flown out of the country.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian national, was arrested in Pakistan last year. He has been indicted in the United States in connection with the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which more than 200 people were killed.

Mr. Ghailani also spent time in West Africa as an al-Qaida operative, according to former Washington Post reporter Doug Farah. Mr. Farah, author of “Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror,” said Mr. Ghailani spent time in Liberia, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone just before and slightly after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington in 2001.

“He took the diamonds out of West Africa to Pakistan,” said Mr. Farah. When Mr. Ghailani was arrested in July, two South African nationals were detained with him. They were extradited to South Africa but were soon released. They were recently detained in Guinea while trying to travel to neighboring Sierra Leone with false passports and visas, Mr. Farah said.

“It’s an interesting question as to whether al-Qaida is still seeking ties in the diamond industry there or what exactly their purpose there was,” said Mr. Farah.

He spoke with Africa Division reporter Cindy Shiner.