US Indict Afghan Woman For Attempting to Kill US Nationals In Afghanistan – US Attorney

LawFuel – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced today the indictment of
AAFIA SIDDIQUI on charges related to her attempted murder and
assault of United States nationals and officers and employees.
SIDDIQUI is scheduled to be arraigned on the Indictment on
Thursday, September 4, 2008, at 11:30 a.m. by United States
District Judge RICHARD M. BERMAN in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York. According to the
Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court:

On July 18, 2008, a team of United States servicemen
and law enforcement officers, and others assisting them,
attempted to interview AAFIA SIDDIQUI in Ghazni, Afghanistan,
where she had been detained by local police the day before. The
United States interview team included, among others: three
officers and employees of the United States Army; two officers
and employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and two
United States Army contract interpreters.

The interview of SIDDIQUI was to take place at an
Afghan police compound in Ghazni. In a second-floor meeting room
at the compound — where SIDDIQUI was being held, unbeknownst to
the United States interview team, unsecured, behind a curtain —
SIDDIQUI obtained one of the United States Army officer’s M-4
rifle and attempted to fire it, and did fire it, at another
United States Army officer and other members of United States
interview team. SIDDIQUI repeatedly stated her intent and desire
to kill Americans.

SIDDIQUI then assaulted one of the United States Army
interpreters, as he attempted to obtain the M-4 rifle from her.
SIDDIQUI subsequently assaulted one of the FBI agents and one of
the United States Army officers, as they attempted to subdue her.

On the previous day, July 17, 2008, when SIDDIQUI was
detained by Afghan authorities, a number of items were in her
possession, including handwritten notes that referred to a “mass
casualty attack” and that listed various locations in the United
States, including Plum Island, the Empire State Building, the
Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Other
notes in SIDDIQUI’s possession referred to the construction of
“dirty bombs,” and discussed various ways to attack “enemies,”
including by destroying reconnaissance drones, using underwater
bombs, and using gliders. SIDDIQUI also possessed a computer
thumb drive that contained correspondence referring to specific
“cells,” “attacks” by certain “cells,” and “enemies.” Other
documents on the thumb drive discussed recruitment and training.
SIDDIQUI, a 36-year-old Pakistani woman, resided in the
United States from in or about 1991 until June 2002, and obtained
degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
Brandeis University. SIDDIQUI returned to the United States on
December 25, 2002, and departed on January 2, 2003.

SIDDIQUI is charged in the Indictment with: (1) one
count of attempting to kill United States nationals outside the
United States; (2) one count of attempting to kill United States
officers and employees; (3) one count of armed assault of United
States officers and employees; (4) one count of using and
carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence;
and (5) three counts of assault of United States officers and
employees. If convicted, SIDDQIUI faces a maximum sentence of:
20 years in prison on each of the attempted murder and armed
assault charges; life in prison on the firearm charge; and eight
years in prison on each of the remaining assault charges.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative work of the Joint
Terrorism Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and New
York City Police Department. He also expressed his gratitude to
the United States Department of State for their assistance in the
case.

Mr. GARCIA said that the investigation is continuing.
Assistant United States Attorney CHRISTOPHER L. LAVIGNE
is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment
are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent
unless and until proven guilty.
08-212 ###