Two men tried to buy boots, winter coats and other gear for Taliban and al-Qaida soldiers fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan, authorities said Thursday in announcing rare state-level terrorism charges.
Humayoun Nabi, 32, and Ismail Alsarabbi, 27, were busted after a two-year investigation that involved confidential informants and undercover detectives, police said.
Lawyers who represented the men at their initial court appearance this week in Queens said their clients had been manipulated by police.
“If you have to spend more than 18 months trying to get someone to send coats and shoes to the people of Afghanistan, and you have all these cops on the case, to me that sounds like entrapment,” said Ken Finkelstein, Nabi’s attorney. “If you remove the police from this, you have nothing.”
According to a criminal complaint, Nabi told a confidential informant that he hated the United States and wanted to take a stand. He told the informant he wanted to form a nonprofit where he could siphon away money for Afghan fighters. The nonprofit was not formed, police said.
“We are sitting here breathing in peace eating chicken and roasts, and our brothers, they are dying,” Nabi told the informant, according to the complaint.
The two suspects believed the key to beating U.S. forces overseas was through properly outfitted Taliban soldiers. The fighters could then kill American soldiers “and cut them into pieces,” Nabi said, according to the complaint.
Nabi, working with Alsarabbi, wanted to buy socks, shoes, coats and electronics to ship oversees to a warehouse. They met with a man set up by detectives who provided the men with sample gear.
Federal authorities say they were aware of the NYPD investigation but chose not to prosecute it.