Hearts and Minds: Mercenaries Lure Afghan Warlord to US; US to Charge him for Growing Poppies
April 11, 2008
Note to Afghan warlords, if an American private security consulting firm promises you safe passage to the United States, don't just assume it's their promise to make:
Investigators' promises to an Afghan warlord of safe passage in America will not protect him from facing trial in Manhattan on heroin charges next month, a federal judge ruled yesterday.
Bashir Noorzai, the leader of a 1 million-person tribe in southern Afghanistan, had traveled to New York voluntarily in 2005, aiming to gain an audience with American diplomats who could help him shore up his power in Afghanistan. The trip had been organized by employees of a shadowy and short-lived security company, Rosetta Research & Consulting LLC, that was seeking to help the federal government conduct investigative work in foreign countries. Contractors at the firm had courted Mr. Noorzai, believing at one point that the warlord had information to offer about Osama bin Laden, according to transcripts of conversations involving the contractors as well as an interview with a former government official. [NY Sun]According to the article, the DEA is trying to make a case against Noorzai for growing opium poppies on his land (in Afghanistan?). He has been held in solitary confinement for three years.