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War between the FBI and US drug enforcers that left the Taliban's leader at large
08-17-2008, 09:26 AM,
War between the FBI and US drug enforcers that left the Taliban's leader at large
Quote:The abject failure of America’s intelligence services to broker a deal that could have led to the capture of the leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan can be exposed for the first time today.

The US had persuaded a high-ranking Taliban officer to turn informer – a move that could have led to the elimination of insurgent chief Mullah Mohammed Omar.

However, infighting between the White House, FBI and US drug enforcement agents meant that the potential ‘supergrass’ is instead facing life imprisonment for heroin smuggling.

The lives of British troops could have been saved if the deal had gone through because Haji Bashar Noorzai was leader of the second biggest tribe in Helmand province, where our soldiers are fighting against insurgents he once controlled.

Noorzai – known to the security services as HBN – was introduced to two US private investigators in 2004.

The men, one a retired FBI counter-intelligence agent and the other a former US Special Forces officer, were put in touch with him through an Afghan intermediary in London.

The private eyes, known for security reasons only as Brian and Mike, had been commissioned to investigate terrorist finance networks in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York, and HBN was of special interest.

As a member of the Taliban central council, HBN had become its ‘treasurer’ and reportedly received at least £10million in cash for safe-keeping.

He also had links to Taliban leader Omar, one of the world’s most wanted men, who is thought to be hiding in Pakistan. HBN’s tribe had played a major role in keeping him safe from capture.

But HBN’s allegiance to Omar was questionable and, after being briefly detained by US forces in 2001, he ‘bought’ his freedom by leading them to a cache of deadly Stinger missiles.

Believing HBN was prepared to negotiate another deal, the two private investigators met senior officials from the FBI and Department of Justice in Washington and received assurances that he would be immune from prosecution if he turned informer.

After more months of negotiations, HBN flew from Pakistan to New York on April 13, 2005.

Dressed for the first time in Western clothes, he was greeted by senior officials from the FBI, the CIA and the US Department of Justice. He was taken to a five-star hotel near Wall Street.

Documents seen by The Mail on Sunday state that the deal provided HBN with legal immunity on the condition he provided vital intelligence about the Taliban infrastructure, persuaded his tribesmen to lay down their arms and gave the US the means to capture Omar.

But just ten days after his arrival in America, the deal was in ruins.

Unknown to HBN, nine months earlier the White House had named him as one of the world’s top ten drug barons.

So, despite his huge potential intelligence value, the Drug Enforcement Administration demanded his immediate arrest. HBN, 44, has since been languishing in a cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Centre.

Next month he will stand trial accused of running Afghanistan’s biggest drug business and exporting heroin worth £25million into the US.

Omar is still at large.

A US official closely involved with the sorry saga last night told this newspaper: ‘HBN wasn’t bull*****ing. The intelligence he wanted to give us was very real and he could have been an enormous help.

‘Southern Afghanistan may well have become more stable. Instead his arrest may have been partly responsible for the insurgency’s increasing ferocity.’
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara

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08-17-2008, 08:50 PM,
War between the FBI and US drug enforcers that left the Taliban's leader at large
Interesting this has come out in a british newspaper. Any US papers print this story?

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