Honduran authorities are on the "red alert" after being warned last month by the U.S. government that two top Islamist terrorists could be either in Honduras or heading there. The two Afghani militants, Khalil Al-Rahman Haqqani, born in 1966, and Said Jan Abd Al-Salam, born in 1981, have been supporting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda; and, according to news items, moving around in Central American countries with fake passports, pretending to be businessmen.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has designated the two Afghani militants Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs). U.S. citizens have been prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them, and any assets under U.S. jurisdiction held by them have been frozen.
Haqqani, is apparently a member of the powerful Haqqani Network, a group based in North Waziristan, Pakistan, and closely linked to the Taliban, and led by Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Khalil Al-Rahman Haqqani, Sirajuddin Haqqani's uncle, is the key fundraiser, financier, and operational commander for the Haqqani Network. Voice of America reports that Khalil was also crucial in aiding the paramilitary movement linked to al Qaeda's Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army, which has been involved in terrorist attacks against the U.S. army in Afghanistan.
Said Jan Abd Al-Salam also has been involved in raising funds for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and has helped in facilitating training and weapons acquisition for al-Qaeda. Al-Salam was, as well, working as an interlocutor between al-Qaida and the Taliban.
This is not the first time that Honduras has tightened its security because of Al-Qaeda's presence. In 2004, Honduras declared a national terror alert after receiving information that Al-Qaeda was trying to recruit its citizens to carry out attacks against several embassies, among which was the U.S. embassy. Recruitment methods included offers of money, as well as ideological reasons, to reach the small Muslim community in Honduras.
The senior Al-Qaeda member spotted in Honduras was Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, who grew up in Brooklyn and went to college in Florida. He is accused of having plotted terrorist attacks against the United States, including possibly against three New York City subway lines. The New York Times reports that information linking Shukrijumah to Al-Qaeda first emerged during the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. In Honduras, Shukrijumah met with El Salvador's Mara Salvatrucha gang, known for having smuggled hundreds of Latinos, mostly gang members, into the U.S.
Honduras: A platform from which to enter the U.S.
According to news items, the presence of the two A-Qaeda linked militants in Honduras could be linked to the fact that Islamist movements might be interested in using Honduras as a transit platform to enter into the U.S., taking advantage of the country's political situation that makes it vulnerable to illegal activities. In 2009, Honduras entered into a constitutional crisis that culminated in a coup that brought more political and social instability in the country. Further, the wave of violence and criminal activities are on the rise. Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez said during a press conference: "I don't think that Honduras would be an objective for Al Qaida, but rather that it could be something like a transit location, a platform from which to be able to access the United States" or act against American targets in the country.
Honduras is also at the center of narco-trafficking activities, which led analysts to believe that Al-Qaeda and other Islamist movements might also be looking for alliances with drug lords in Central and South America to finance their activities. Michael Braun, former Chief of Operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), declared that Islamist movements such as the Taliban, Hamas and Hezbollah are part terrorist organizations that are becoming one "global drug trafficking cartel.
The Brazilian Connection
Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas militants are already known to be active in South America, in the so called "tri-border region " of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. In 2009, Brazil's federal police in Sao Paulo, detained Khaled Hussein Ali, accused of being the chief of international communications for Al-Qaeda. Ali, a Lebanese national residing in Brazil since the 1990s, was later released for absence of evidence. The Brazilian police were alerted to Ali by the FBI, which detected his "discriminatory and anti-US messages," written in Arabic, on the Internet. According to a recent article in the Brazilian magazine Veja, Ali is coordinating in Sao Paulo the "Jihad Media Batallion," the internet communications arm of Al-Qaeda.
Below is information from the U.S. Treasury Department on the two Afghani terrorists believed to be travelling in Central America:
Individual: Said Jan 'Abd Al-Salam
AKA: Sa'id Jan 'Abd-al-Salam
AKA: Qazi 'Abdallah
AKA: Qazi Abdullah
AKA: Ibrahim Walid
AKA: Dilawar Khan Zain Khan
AKA: Qasi Sa'id Jan
AKA: Said Jhan
AKA: Farhan Khan
AKA: Aziz Cairo
DOB: February 5, 1981
Alt. DOB: January 1, 1972
Passport: Afghanistan, #OR801168; Issued February 28, 2006;
Expires February 27, 2011 (under name Said Jan 'Abd al-Salam)
Alt Passport: Pakistan, #4117921; Issued September 9, 2008;
Expires September 9, 2013 (under name Dilawar Khan Zain Khan)
ID: Kuwait Civil Identification #281020505755 (under name Said Jan 'Abd al-Salam)
Individual: Khalil Al-Rahman Haqqani
AKA: Khalil ur Rahman Haqqani
AKA: Khaleel Haqqani
AKA: Khalil Ahmad Haqqani
DOB: January 1, 1966
Alt. DOB: 1958 – 1964
Address: Peshawar, Pakistan
Alt. Address: Near Dirgha Mundei Madrassa in Dirgha Mundei Village,
near Miram Shah, North Waziristan Agency (NWA), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Pakistan
Alt. Address: Kayla Village, near Miram Shah, NWA, FATA, Pakistan
Alt. Address: Sarana Zadran Village, Paktia Province, Afghanistan