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Terrorism & Security

New York court indicts Pakistani scientist seized in Afghanistan

Aafia Siddiqui, who went missing in Pakistan for five years before her arrest, is accused of trying to kill US Army and FBI officers.

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Agence France Presse reports that Siddiqui was arrested on July 17 by Afghan police who believed she had been planning a suicide attack in the town of Ghazni. In a statement, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York said US military and law enforcement officers went to interview her the next day in the police compound.

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"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 – (she) obtained one of the (US) Army officer's M-4 rifle" and fired it at members of the US interrogators, the statement read.
Siddiqui, who "repeatedly stated her intent and desire to kill Americans," then assaulted an army interpreter and other team members trying to disarm her, according to the statement.

In 2003, Siddiqui went missing in Karachi, Pakistan, together with her three children, reports The Washington Post. Her supporters believe that she was arrested and detained on US orders. At the time, US officials had sought to question her in connection with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a senior Al Qaeda operative who was detained that year and taken to Guantanamo Bay. Siddiqui allegedly divorced her first husband and married a nephew of Mr. Mohammed, who is also being held in Guantanamo.

Defense attorneys contend that Siddiqui, 36, was "disappeared" and imprisoned for an unspecified period before the shootout and has been set up by authorities.
"These are totally ludicrous claims," said one of the attorneys, Elizabeth Fink. "A woman gets in a cab, never to be seen again, and five years later, she shows up in Afghanistan and gets a gun away from the U.S. military. This stuff is from the Dark Side."
A CIA spokesman said yesterday that the agency had no knowledge of Siddiqui's whereabouts before her July arrest in Afghanistan's Ghazni province, and that she was not in U.S. custody before then.

Last month, Reuters reported that Afghan police in Ghazni gave an entirely different account of what happened to Siddiqui after her detention there. A senior Afghan police officer said that US troops had sought custody of the suspect and insisted on disarming the Afghan police. When Siddiqui approached the Americans to complain of mistreatment, a jumpy US soldier shot her because he feared she was a suicide bomber, the unnamed police officer said.

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