News / USA

US Accuses Six of Aiding Pakistani Taliban

The United States has charged six people with helping to support and finance the Pakistani Taliban, a group the American government considers a terrorist organization.

The U.S. Justice Department said Saturday that three residents of the southern state of Florida, all naturalized American citizens of Pakistani descent, have been arrested and indicted by a grand jury, while three other people remain at large in Pakistan.

U.S. authorities allege that the six used an elaborate system of bank accounts and wire transfers to funnel $50,000 to Pakistan to support militants and their families and to buy weapons.

In addition, the U.S. said that one of the suspects, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, the 76-year-old imam at the Flagler Mosque in Miami, Florida, operated a madrassa, or Islamic school in Swat, Pakistan that housed militants and taught children how to kill Americans in Afghanistan.

All six suspects have been accused of conspiring to murder, maim and kidnap people overseas and provide financial assistance to the Pakistani Taliban, a group that opposes the Pakistani government and has claimed responsibility for attacks against U.S. interests.

The Pakistani Taliban said it was behind Friday's suicide bombings that killed at least 80 people at a Pakistani military training facility, an attack the group said was revenge for the U.S. killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden two weeks ago at his Pakistani hideout.

Aside from Khan, the U.S. filed charges against two of his sons, Izhar Khan, an imam at another Florida mosque, and Irfan Khan, all of whom live in the United States.

The three accused who reside in Pakistan include the elder Khan's daughter, Amina Khan, and her son, Alam Zeb. Ali Rehman is the third Pakistani named in the indictment.

If convicted, all six face up to 15 years in prison.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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