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Afghan man extradited to US on charges of narco-terrorism aimed to benefit Taliban, Haqqani network

Press Trust of India  |  New York 

A 53-year old Afghan man has been extradited to the US on charges of attempting to import heroin into the country as well as for engaging in narco-terrorism to benefit terrorist organisations Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Haji Abdul Satar Abdul Manaf, who had been taken into custody by Estonian authorities in Tallinn last October, was extradited to the United States Wednesday, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said.

The indictment charges Manaf, a citizen of Afghanistan, with attempting to import heroin into the United States and narco-terrorism.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

As alleged, Manaf, already sanctioned by the Treasury Department for assisting the Taliban, attempted to import large quantities of heroin into the US, funnelled heroin trafficking proceeds to the Taliban and attempted to provide financial assistance to the Haqqani terrorist network," Berman said in a statement.

According to the allegations contained in the complaint and indictment, in June 2012, the United States Treasury Department sanctioned Manaf for storing or moving money for the Taliban through his money remitting business, the Haji Khairullah Haji Sattar Money Exchange.

Beginning in January 2018, he attempted to import large quantities of heroin into the US, used the proceeds of heroin trafficking to benefit the Taliban and attempted to provide financial support to the Haqqani Network.

Specifically, Manaf participated in in-person meetings, recorded telephone calls, and electronic communications with five men whom he understood to be affiliated with an international drug trafficking organisation.

During those meetings, he helped arrange to import large quantities of heroin into the US with the assistance of and recognising that some of the proceeds of that narcotics trafficking would be provided to the Taliban and the Haqqani Network.

However, four of these men were US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confidential sources, while the fifth was an undercover DEA agent.

The Justice Department statement said the Haqqani Network and the Taliban have been and are engaged in highly public acts of terrorism against US interests, including US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

In August 2018, Manaf sold the undercover agent a 10-kilogram shipment of heroin in Afghanistan, after the agent told Manaf that the heroin would ultimately be imported into the United States for sale in New York.

Manaf repeatedly told the agent that he had paid the Taliban in connection with the production of the 10 Kilo shipment and reported that armed members of the Taliban would guard and transport future heroin shipments for them.

In August 2018, Manaf facilitated the transfer of thousands of dollars of what he believed to be narcotics proceeds to individuals he had been advised were members of the Haqqani Network.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 07 2019. 11:20 IST