U.S. authorities have warned their Honduran counterparts that two Afghani Islamist terrorists are either en route to the Central American country or have already arrived. The two militants, Khalil Al-Rahman Haqqani and Said Jan Abd Al-Salam, have reportedly been traveling through the region impersonating businessmen. Their potential presence in Honduras has prompted the country's security to be on "red alert."
The U.S. Treasury Department of designated the two men as global terrorists earlier this year as a result of their support for Taliban and al-Qaida. In line with this designation, U.S. citizens are forbidden from engaging in any transactions with them and their assets held in U.S. jurisdictions have been frozen.
Haqqani is the primary financer, fundraiser, and operational commander for the Haqqani Network, a powerful group based in North Waziristan, Pakistan and closely affiliated with the Taliban. Haqqani also played a key role in aiding the paramilitary movement linked to al-Qaida's Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army, which has carried out terrorist attacks against the U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan, according to a report in Voice of America.
Al-Salam is also an active fundraiser for al-Qaida and the Taliban and has assisted al-Qaida in training and the securing of weapons. Salam also served as a go-between for al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Al-Qaida's presence in Honduras is not something new, the Hudson Institute notes. In 2004, Honduras issued a national terror alert after receiving information that al-Qaida was targeting its small Muslim community to recruit people to carry out attacks against various embassies, including the U.S. embassy. The most senior al-Qaida operative identified in Honduras at the time was Adnan El Shukrijumah, who is accused of plotting terrorist attacks against the United States, including plots against three New York City subway lines.