A young Afghan-born man has been indicted in New York on a charge of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction against targets inside the United States. And two other Afghan-born men accused of making false statements to federal investigators investigating the case were ordered released under court supervision.
A New York grand jury indicted 24-year-old Najibullah Zazi, a resident of the western state of Colorado, on a charge that he conspired with unnamed others to make and use improvised bombs inside the U.S.
Federal prosecutors in New York and Colorado allege that Zazi received bomb-making instructions on a trip to Pakistan in 2008 and that he later searched out and purchased bomb components such as hydrogen peroxide and acetone.They say that he traveled to New York City on September 10 "in furtherance of his criminal plans."
Zazi, a Denver airport shuttle bus driver who formerly lived in New York City, was arrested on September 19, on a charge of making false statements to federal investigators.
His father, 53-year-old Mohammed Zazi, who lives in Colorado, and a New York city imam, Ahmad Wais Afzali, 37, were also arrested and charged with making false statements. On Thursday, the elder Zazi was ordered released under court supervision and electronic monitoring.
And prosecutors in New York agreed that Afzali should be released on a $1.5 million bond and allowed to work at his Islamic funeral home, and attend religious services.
Afzali's attorney, Ron Kuby, said the imam has long served as an Afghan community liaison with New York police intelligence, and that he is not suspected of involvement with terrorism.
"Obviously, the government would not be consenting to his release on bail if they genuinely believed he was involved in a terrorist conspiracy," said Ron Kuby.
Kuby said Afzali had attempted only to aid police when they asked him to find and talk to Najibullah Zazi. But Afzali faces an eight-year prison term if convicted on the charge that he subsequently lied to federal investigators about the content of those conversations.