Former US congressman indicted

An ex-congressman is indicted for his part in an alleged terrorist fundraising and accused of sending $130,000 to a Taliban supporter.

A US grand jury indicted ex-Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice.

It is alleged he lobbied for a charity that sent funds to al-Qaeda and Taliban supporter Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Siljander was a congressman from 1981-1987 and served one year as a US delegate to the United Nations.

The 42-count grand jury indictment alleges Siljander lied about lobbying senators on behalf of the Missouri-based Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA).

The indictment alleges the charity sent about $130,000 (£66,000) in 2003 and 2004 to accounts in Peshawar, Pakistan, that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar had access to.

It says Siljander “engaged in money laundering and obstruction of a federal investigation in an effort to disguise IARA’s misuse of taxpayer money that the government had provided for humanitarian purposes”.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has long been a thorn in the US side in Afghanistan.

The US justice department says he has “vowed to engage in a holy war against the United States and international troops”.

JR/RA