Chicago: The world`s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden is "healthy" and "giving orders" to deputies in al Qaeda, according to a Pakistani-origin taxi driver arrested by FBI here on charges of providing funds to the terror outfit.
A 35-page complaint affidavit against Raja Lahrasib Khan, arrested on Friday for allegedly providing material support to terrorism and funds to al Qaeda, gives details of conversations recorded between him and an undercover law enforcement agent about his association with al Qaeda operative Ilyas Kashmiri, also the chief of Pakistan-based Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HuJI).
In conversations taped on February 23 between Khan and the undercover agent, the 56-year-old taxi driver claims that Kashmiri, whom he addresses as "Lala" told him that bin Laden is "healthy...perfect".
"... I asked the Lala about him (Osama). And he (Kashmiri) says he`s (Osama) healthy, he`s leading," according to the affidavit against Khan submitted in a court here.
Khan goes on to say that he thought bin Laden was "sick" or "shaheed" but Kashmiri "says no... he`s perfect, healthy, and he`s leading and he`s giving the orders ... he`s OK, he`s in safe hands. That`s what, Lala said to me, you know..."
Later in a conversation around March 17, the undercover agent met Khan and an `Individual B` at a restaurant here. During this meeting, Khan told the agent that he knew
Kashmiri worked for al Qaeda because he had asked him about "the big Lala. Osama..."
Khan asked Kashmiri if Osama was "alive or is he shaheed".
"He (Kashmiri) said no, he`s OK. Allahamdullah (praise to God) he`s healthy and...he is commanding everything," according to the conversation.
Khan also told the undercover agent that though he had never met bin Laden "personally", he wanted to meet him.
"... Osama bin Laden. I never met... I want (to) meet him ... I wanna see him. Before the, even the war start, I was going to Pakistan. But then 9/11 happens, and I didn`t go".
Khan said bin Laden gives orders to Kashmiri, "then Kashmiri gives the order to `mujahideen`... al Qaeda and Taliban". In another conversation, Khan said, "I love that
Osama bin Laden, he says the last 50 years we have been, tasting... now America will taste that," and Americans will feel the pain they have been feeling.
Claiming that he has known Kashmiri for 15 years and has met him "face-to-face" several times, Khan said "I, I, I pray help our brother Kashmiri all the time, you know... he be alive, you know, because... he`s the main key... he`s the main key. After Osama bin Laden".
The affidavit against Khan also provides details about plans to send funds to Kashmiri for purchasing weapons and his links with al Qaeda.
Kashmiri has been named along with Pakistan-American LeT operative David Coleman Headley and co-accused Tahawwur Hussain in an FBI indictment that charges them with supporting terrorism.