NYC man sentenced to 8 years in prison for trying to join Taliban

A New York City man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to help the Taliban fight US forces.

NEW YORK – A New York City man convicted of trying to help the Taliban fight American forces was sentenced to eight years in prison on Thursday.

Judge Sidney H. Stein sentenced Delwar Mohammad Hossain to federal court in Manhattan. Hussein was convicted during a week-long trial in October of trying to provide material support for terrorism by providing funds, goods and services to the Taliban.

Authorities detained Hussein at Kennedy Airport in 2019, thwarting his plans to travel to Afghanistan.

Prior to the trial, the judge allowed the government to take steps to protect the identities of witnesses, including a New York City police officer who had secret contact with Hussein before his arrest.

According to court documents, Hussein began expressing interest in joining the Taliban in 2018 and wanted to hire someone to do the same, but the man turned out to be an official informant. Court documents state that he told the informant, “I want to kill some infidels (unbelievers) before I die.”

Prosecutors said his preparations included the purchase of equipment such as walkie-talkies and trekking gear. He instructed the informant to save enough money to “buy some weapons” after arriving in Afghanistan, they added.

Prosecutors demanded that Hussein be sentenced to 35 years in prison, calling him a “dangerous, radical extremist who committed suicide in the killing of Americans.”

Defense attorneys applied for more than six years in prison, saying Hussein was the son of a Bengali immigrant who returned to Islam after years of personal turmoil, “creating the illusion of old age and a self-destructive desire to escape his stressful life.”

“Prior to this case, Mr. Hussein was never arrested, and there is no indication that he was a violent person who could harm anyone,” they wrote in a pre-sentence submission.

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