A former New York City Uber driver planned to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban and “kill Americans” before he was arrested at John F Kennedy airport in 2019, prosecutors alleged during the opening statements of his trial Wednesday.
Delowar Mohammed Hossain, 36, faces terrorism charges over his alleged plot to join the extremist group that prosecutors say he spent a year planning, according to The Washington Post.
“He wasn’t just any other traveler — he was on a mission to Afghanistan to join the Taliban and kill Americans and he was on his way,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Schrier said on the first day of the trial in Manhattan.
Hossain’s attorney, however, contends he was just a “wannabe playboy” who decided to leave his wife and family to fly to Thailand to meet girls.
Schrier said Hossain planned to go from Thailand to Afghanistan and he had already bought supplies to survive in the country.
Hossain read al-Qaeda literature that gave instructions on bomb-making and jihad and only decided against bombing a New York City military installation because he didn’t think he could kill enough people, Schrier alleged, the Post reported. He added that prosecutors have a recording of him saying he wanted to kill Americans.
Afghan drivers and passengers stuck in a traffic jam look at Taliban fighters riding in the back of a vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
He also allegedly told undercover informants that he was trying to throw off investigators by frequenting bars and strip clubs, which wouldn’t be allowed for a strict Muslim and encouraged the informants to “get dirty” with forbidden Muslim behavior themselves to fool law enforcement.
But his defense attorney, Andrew Dalack, called Hossain a “hypocritical” Muslim with a “wild imagination,” claiming his suitcase was packed with stylish clothes, perfumes, lotions for wooing women in Thailand. Dalack added that Hossain asked the informants to help him get condoms and hair gel for the trip, which he said wasn’t the “ingredients for a radical Islamist jihad.”
Hossain was found with $10,000 in cash at the airport.
He is charged with attempting to provide material support for terrorism and attempting to make or receive a contribution to the Taliban and could face decades in prison if convicted, according to The Post.