New York: An Afghanistan-born imam linked
to the suspects in an aborted suicide bomb plot against New
York City subway stations faces up to six months in prison.
Ahmad Afzali, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI
in a deal sparing him serious jail time, was scheduled for
sentencing today in Brooklyn. He will be required to leave the
country after completing the sentence or face deportation.
Afzali was arrested in September as federal
authorities scrambled to thwart a plot by Najibullah Zazi, a
Colorado airport van driver who is the case's principal
suspect. Afzali has said that he had wanted to help
authorities, but lied under grilling by the FBI about
his phone conversations with Zazi.
Zazi has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with
investigators. Prosecutors hope he can help them trace the
plot back to its roots in Pakistan, where Zazi and former high
school friends allegedly travelled in 2008 to seek terror
After returning to the United States, the plotters
allegedly hoped to detonate bombs on trains at two of the
city's biggest subway stations: Times Square and Grand Central
Terminal, according to two officials. The officials spoke to
The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they
were not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.
Zazi admitted that he tested bomb-making materials in
a Denver suburb before travelling by car to New York intending
to attack the subway system to avenge US military involvement
Two other men suspected of direct roles in the plot,
Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay, have pleaded not guilty
to charges they sought to join Zazi in what prosecutors
described as "three coordinated suicide bombing attacks" on
Manhattan subway lines. The alleged attacks were timed for
days after the eighth anniversary of the September 11
Prosecutors say the attacks were modeled after the
July 2005 bombings on the London transit system. Four suicide
bombers killed 52 people and themselves in an attack on three
subway trains and a bus in London.
The alleged New York plot was disrupted in early
September when police stopped Zazi's car as it entered New
York. Another suspect was recently arrested in Pakistan, law
enforcement officials said Monday.
First Published: Thursday, April 15, 2010, 19:30