DOJ: NYC Uber driver who tried to join Taliban to ‘kill Americans’ convicted on terrorism-related charges

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Judge Stewart Aaron, Amy Gallicchio and Delowar Mohammed Hossain. / CREDIT: JANE ROSENBERG

A jury returned a guilty verdict last Friday against Delowar Mohammed Hossain for attempting to provide material support for terrorism and attempting to make a contribution of funds, goods, and services to the Taliban.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As the jury found, Delowar Hossain made elaborate preparations to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban and kill American troops, and he was intercepted at JFK Airport attempting to board a flight while carrying mountain survival gear and thousands in cash for weapons to achieve his murderous plan. I commend the excellent work of the Joint Terrorism Task Force to uncover the plot and stop Hossain, who now awaits sentencing for his crimes.”

According to court documents and the evidence at trial:

Beginning in the fall of 2018, Hossain expressed his desire to travel to Afghanistan, join the Taliban, and kill American servicemembers. Over the next approximately 10 months, Hossain attempted to recruit several other individuals into his plot; attempted to contact at least one individual in Pakistan who was associated with the Taliban; saved at least approximately $10,000, with which he planned to buy weapons to use after he joined the Taliban; and bought survival gear for the mountains of Afghanistan. During recorded conversations with two confidential sources working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Hossain consistently reiterated his desire to join the Taliban and kill Americans. Hossain also took steps to develop a cover story designed to disguise his extremism and evade detection by the FBI, which included traveling to Thailand on his way to Afghanistan.

On July 26, 2019, the FBI arrested Hossain at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he was walking down the jet bridge to a flight that would have taken him to Thailand, the first leg of his planned journey to Afghanistan to join the Taliban. A subsequent search of his person and luggage revealed approximately $10,000 in cash and survival gear, including a machete, an ax, a knife, a tent, sleeping bags rated for freezing temperatures, emergency thermal blankets, personal water filters, and solar power panels.

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Hossain, 36, of the Bronx, New York, was convicted of one count of attempting to provide material support for terrorism, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and one count of attempting to make a contribution of funds, goods, and services to the Taliban, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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