A Chicago cab driver was charged Friday with providing material support to al Qaeda by attempting to funnel funds overseas to the terrorist group. Pakistan-born Raja Lahrasib Khan, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1988, also discussed attacking a stadium in the United States in August, according to a 35-page affidavit filed in the Northern District of Illinois.
The affidavit claims Khan had a long-term association with al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri. During meetings in Pakistan, Kashmiri told Khan that he worked for al Qaeda and received orders from Osama bin Laden. Kashmiri also told Khan that he was training operatives to conduct attacks in the United States. Kashmiri then showed Khan a video of an improvised explosive device being detonated and said that he needed money to obtain equipment from the "black market."
Last November, Khan sent $950 from Chicago to someone in Pakistan and instructed him to give approximately $300 to "Lala," which means "older brother" in Urdu. It also served as a moniker for Kashmiri. On February 8, an undercover informant met with Khan and a second unnamed individual at a restaurant in Chicago. During the meeting, Khan told the informant he had met with Kashmiri in northwest Pakistan in 2008. Khan also warned the informant that he suspected their telephone conversations were being monitored and if they were queried about "Lala" they should say that they were referring to Khan's older brother.
In a subsequent meeting February 23, Khan and the undercover agent discussed Osama bin Laden. At the meeting Khan allegedly said, "I love Osama bin Laden, he says fifty years we have been, you know tasting…now America will taste that [Emphasis added].
In another meeting March 11, Khan discussed the stadium bombing idea, in an area "where security did not check cars." At the meeting, which was recorded by the FBI, Khan told an unnamed individual, "You know, put one bag here, one there, one there, you know three, four, five different places, you know, boom, boom, boom, boom." In another meeting March 18, Khan was recorded discussing news media reports about an al Qaeda member "Yemeni" being martyred in a U.S. missile strike in Pakistan and expressed concern about Kashmiri's safety.
Ilyas Kashmiri faces criminal charges along with two other Chicago residents, David Headley and Tahawwur Rana, and a retired major in the Pakistani military, for their alleged participation in the plotting of the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 and a plot to attack the facilities and employees of the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. The investigation is however unrelated to the investigation leading to Khan's arrest.
Read the full affidavit here.