MANHATTAN (CN) – A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Bashir Noorzai of conspiring to import heroin to the United States. Noorzai claimed, fruitlessly, that he cooperated with the U.S. military to hunt down Taliban and al Qaeda members after Sept. 11, 2001, and his U.S. handlers then turned on him and tricked him into coming to the United States.
Prosecutors described Noorzai as a “Mujahideen warlord and strong ally of the Taliban.” They said he owned poppy fields in Kandahar province, the proceeds of which he used to fund armed resistance to the Soviet invasion. After the Soviets were driven from Afghanistan, he used his influence and money to help the Taliban, the government says.
U.S. officials acknowledged to New York Times reporter James Risen that Noorzai helped Uncle Sam in Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001.
Noorzai will be sentenced on Jan. 7. He faces 10 years to life in prison.