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A British computer specialist was indicted Wednesday on charges he used U.S.-based Web sites to recruit al-Qaida, Taliban and Chechen fighters and outfit them with gas masks, night-vision goggles and camouflage gear. Babar Ahmad, 30, was arrested in London in August and has been held there for extradition to the United States. Wednesday’s indictment accuses him of supporting terrorism, conspiring to kill Americans and laundering money. Ahmad allegedly ran several sites, including Azzam.com, which investigators say was used to promote holy war and funnel money to terrorists. The Web site allegedly encouraged people to train in street combat, land mine operations and sniper combat. Financial donors were told to smuggle cash into Pakistan and pass it to the Taliban’s consul general, investigators said. “If you’re supporting the Taliban and the Taliban is killing American soldiers, we’re alleging you’re conspiring to kill American citizens abroad,” Connecticut U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor said. Investigators said Ahmad also obtained classified military documents describing the movements and formations of a Navy battle group. He was exchanging e-mails with an enlisted man aboard the USS Benfold, a Navy destroyer, authorities said. Authorities have not identified the man, who investigators said was sympathetic to the jihad cause. The Navy documents described the Benfold’s vulnerabilities to attacks by small boats, prosecutors said in court papers. The charges were filed in Connecticut because Ahmad allegedly used an Internet service provider in the state to host one of his sites. Babar is also charged with maintaining e-mail contact with a Chechen rebel leader. Chechen rebels and their supporters have been blamed or taken responsibility for several terrorist acts in Russia, including a hostage-taking at a school last month. Babar said little during his August court appearance in London. When asked if he understood the charges against him, he replied: “Not really. It’s all a bit confusing to me.” There was no answer late Wednesday at the London office of Muddassar Arani, one of Ahmad’s lawyers. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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