Pakistani defendants plead guilty in D.C. to helping terrorist organization

Three Pakistani citizens pleaded guilty in federal court in D.C. Monday to helping a group often referred to as the Pakistani Taliban.

Irfan Ul Haq, 37; Qasim Ali, 32; and Zahid Yousaf, 43, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

They are scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 9 and face 15 years each behind bars. They will be returned to Pakistan after completing their sentences.

“These criminals were willing to use their human smuggling network to help a terrorist slip across our border without any regard for the consequences,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen. “Ten years after 9/11, this case reminds us that we must remain aggressive to stop terrorists from infiltrating our homeland and harming our nation.”

Ul Haq, Ali and Yousaf were arrested in Miami on March 13, 2011, on an indictment filed in the District of Columbia charging them with one count of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling. Based on the defendants’ guilty pleas to terrorism conspiracy charges, the government will dismiss at the sentencing hearing the charges of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling against the defendants.

The three were arrested in Miami on March 13. Authorities say the three defendants admitted that between Jan. 3 and March 10, they conspired to provide false documents and fake IDs to Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan.

The U.S. State Department calls Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan a terrorist organization.