WikiLeaks Aafia Siddiqui’s incriminating purse

Published: August 8, 2010

KARACHI: One of the most prominent Pakistani prisoners in the US, who has been dubbed the ‘daughter of Pakistan’ by political parties, is also mentioned in one of the 75,000 reports leaked and published by WikiLeaks.


The role of Aafia Siddiqui

The report, which was first highlighted by’s Danger Room blog after the files were published, was filed on July 18, 2008. The details of the arrest recorded correspond to the circumstances surrounding Aafia Siddiqui’s arrest.

While there are conflicting reports about Siddiqui’s whereabouts from 2003 to 2008, her arrest in Afghanistan put an end to the mystery and almost immediately made it to the Pakistani and international press. An initial report by AFP did not mention her by name but identified her as a Pakistani, since the “deputy police chief of Ghazni Abdul Ghani told reporters the woman had confessed she was from Multan and had come to the city to carry out a suicide attack”.

‘Reacting abnormally’

“While leaving work, Ghazni Afghan National Police (ANP) colonel Ghani Khan and his security detail discovered a woman and teenage boy after dark loitering/acting suspicious IVO (in vicinity of) the Ghazni Governors Compound.  Upon questioning, the woman did not respond to Dari or Pashtu and appeared to only speak Urdu.  The woman began to react abnormally and scream Allah Akhbar when ANP officers approached her.”

The details recorded match the circumstances and dates surrounding Aafia Siddiqui’s arrest, based on her initial indictment on September 2, 2008, and her conviction on February 3, 2010. The ‘teenage’ boy mentioned in the report presumably refers to Siddiqui’s son Ahmed, who was detained with her and handed over to her sister Fouzia Siddiqui on September 15, 2008.

According to the report, a search of her personal items “revealed a purse containing numerous documents on how to build explosives, chemical weapon use, targeting US military assets, excerpts from the Anarchist’s Arsenal and a 1 GB (gigabyte) thumb drive with additional related material. The woman also had unknown chemical materials sealed in containers in her purse.”

Officials also found documents on the thumb drive that had Siddiqui’s education details.

The report also indicates that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Afghan government, including President Hamid Karzai, were immediately involved in the case, probably because Siddiqui’s name had been on an FBI list for five years.

Wanted by the FBI

While Aafia Siddiqui went on trial specifically for the incident in Ghazni, Siddiqui’s inclusion on the FBI list was for murkier reasons. The FBI had been looking for Aafia Siddiqui since 2003, after she had been named by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad as someone who had been supporting al Qaeda activities in the US. Siddiqui was related to him, having married his nephew, Ammar alBaluchi in 2003. Al Baluchi, also detained in the US, is accused of several crimes including providing material support to terrorism and has been implicated in the 9/11 attacks.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad has allegedly confessed being involved in or spearheading major terrorist plots, including the 9/11 attacks and journalist Daniel Pearl’s beheading.

She was questioned (along with her first husband, Amjad Khan) by the FBI in 2002 about why the couple had purchased night-vision goggles and body armour. She is widely believed to have been a fixer for al Qaeda in the US, and allegedly opened a post office box for an al Qaeda operative. She was also allegedly involved in buying ‘blood diamonds’ in Liberia to finance al Qaeda operations.

Guns in Ghazni

The events in Ghazni in July 2008 unfolded quickly. According to the WikiLeaks report, “The Governor of Ghazni has personally questioned at which point the suspect admitted to being there with the intent to kill him and Americans.  The Governor intends to hold a press conference in the morning. President Karzai has been notified by the Ghazni Governor.” Her arrest differs from those cited in other reports published by WikiLeaks, which include dispatches of how Pakistani suspects, including soldiers, are handed over to the Afghan police or army.

The update recorded in the report would be the undoing of Siddiqui.

“While being questioned, the female got a hold of a weapon, pointed the weapon at the investigators and an investigator shot the female in self protection.”

This incident would see Siddiqui being convicted of “(1) one count of attempting to kill US nationals outside the United States; (2) one count of attempting to kill US officers and employees; (3) one count of armed assault of US officers and employees; (4) one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and (5) three counts of assault of US officers and employees.”

The Pakistani government spent $2 million on Siddiqui’s legal defence, a move that caused consternation in Islamabad as to how government funds were being spent, given that Siddiqui was already marred with suspicion even before her arrest in Ghazni. To boot, sources claim that the extent to which the issue was politicised had caused an impasse in the US-Pakistan relationship, and hence the two governments had reached an understanding to release her before the trial.

‘You are infidels, don’t touch me!’

A report by the German publication Der Spiegel on her arrest in 2008 provides more details than those mentioned in the report published by WikiLeaks. According to Der Spiegel, “Bashir, one of the police officers, recalls that the woman began cursing at the men as the police attempted to take her away. ‘You are infidels; don’t touch me!’ she called out, three times, in her native Urdu. At first no one understood what the woman was saying. Hekmatullah, the owner of a nearby shop who, like many Afghans, uses only one name, could translate Urdu for the police officers. He remembers that the woman had a Pakistani passport and that she gave it to him and asked him to destroy it. He also remembers that her mobile phone rang twice, and that the calls were apparently coming from Pakistan.”

Since her indictment, the Afghan Taliban and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have joined political parties in demanding her release.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Aug 8, 2010 - 1:19PM

    Right, so what is the source of the intelligence report? Afghan Government? The Northern Alliance? Who has been against Pakistan way back before 9/11 ? Its just stupid to even believe a suicide bomber taking a purse with her with documents to build chemical weapons. Give me break !Recommend

  • Khan Baba
    Aug 8, 2010 - 3:19PM

    USA calls itself a country with human rights and campaigns all over the world about its honest and legal processes.

    In the case of this girl, no reason has been given for the illegal confinement. The case made against her of attacking a CIA agent under interrogation is absurd as no loaded guns are kept inside compounds and this woman was not trained to use a gun.

    Why were the children kept in illegal confinement?

    The arrogant US administration needs to be questioned? Recommend

  • abid
    Aug 8, 2010 - 4:05PM

    In response to the above comments, what was she doing in Afghnaistan?Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Aug 8, 2010 - 4:10PM

    Even though the report does not say anything new, it is amazing that the defense (in the comments) begins immediately. People need to realize that Mrs. Afia Siddique was most probably a double agent (if we believe her uncle who testified). Her Mother heads (is part of) several muslim organizations in USA (you can probably read her letter to Pervez Musharaf on his facebook page and read the organizations listed with it). The stories are not simple but the people come out to defend her as god knows what has happened. Even though it is highly unlikely the events that are reported (shooting an investigator) there is a brilliant chance of her being taken away to protect other secrets. Recommend

  • pandel
    Aug 8, 2010 - 7:52PM

    what’s the point? The real story is that an invading army of murderers, rapists, torturers and plunderers went to afghanistan, unprovoked, and even if this woman was found with this stuff, she was just trying to fight this occupation off just like omar khadr, just like the rest of the people people call terrorists, while decorating their cars with emblems of support for the “troops” who really had no cause other than a paycheck (mercenaries) and a hatred of people different than themselves (Muslims). Free her NOW! Break her out! Recommend

  • SRW
    Aug 8, 2010 - 9:53PM
  • Asad
    Aug 9, 2010 - 3:30AM

    who cares about her man ? We are losing soldiers in Pakistan everyday – I care more about them. Aafia and others can to where they came from. It has been proved that she was a terrorist so needs to bear the consequences. Its because of people like her that today our soldiers are fighting a constant battle within our own borders…Recommend

  • A J Khan
    Aug 9, 2010 - 12:00PM

    The story is amazing. What was an urdu speaking women upto in ghazni afghanistan. She must be linked with some one over there other wise how could she go there.

  • Hamza Baloch
    Aug 9, 2010 - 1:03PM

    May be wikileaks mention Imran khan and Munwer hussan name aslo in “leak documents” also.

    If Such kind of informations are authentic than why it were not presented infront of Usa Court?Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Aug 10, 2010 - 12:40PM

    I can’t believe people defend her, she always involved dubious activities from the start. I ask what she was doing in Afghanistan.

    There are many ways to protest against occupation, did Jinnah become a terrorist? The struggle for Pakistan was political & without extreme violence.

    A violent struggle will never bear fruit and becomes difficult to justify, whereas silent protest, boycotts though takes long but are successful in the end, like the independence of Pakistan & India from the British Empire.

    In today’s day and age, economic and information warfare is far effective than conventional war.Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Aug 10, 2010 - 7:41PM

    Why are we even concerned about her? Isn’t she an American citizen. She left her country and took the American oath. She was convicted by a jury of her peers according to the United States constitution just like she wanted to. Let her rot the jails of her chosen country.Recommend

  • Sahar
    Aug 10, 2010 - 10:57PM

    Two subheadings under the first paragraph?
    Also – whats new in this? Is this a story about a purse as per the headline – its only mentioned once.
    Also is there supposed to be a colon between Wikileaks and Aafia?
    Express Tribune – are you having a really bad week or something?Recommend

  • Hamza Baloch
    Aug 11, 2010 - 10:01AM

    Shahryar Ahmed

    British its self have such stage that they have to give Independence, there was not big rule of “silent protest”.
    Second, problem is not this that what she was doing there, problem is the behavior of americans army with her.Recommend

  • saima
    Aug 11, 2010 - 10:25AM

    The basic info is totally wrong…………..she was arrested in Karachi……….n dn she was sent to afghanistan torture camp…….was she going to do wrong along wd her kids?her youngest kid was of few months……..and all 3 were with her…………the whole case is wrong…ALLAH know the truth……..n those too…….whose secrets she knew……and all happening to her is just the act to save some dirty hands of Pakistan…….who are involved in bad colaberation wd USRecommend

  • sania
    Sep 24, 2010 - 9:59AM

    She was arrested in Khi.


  • Sep 25, 2010 - 7:27AM

    Just like those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq! Conveniently now they fit in someone’s purse.

    The purse issue is true, however. Whose purse is this writer in? Easy to see.

    WE DON”T BELIEVE YOU. Maybe she did not want to be tortured or was tired of being tortured. We haven’t forgotten Abu Ghraib.

    She did get two degrees in the States at MIT and Brandeis. That was conveniently left out of the story. She’s nobody’s fool, and she knows American law. She doesn’t have to take torture, and why were they touching her. Maybe she didn’t want to be raped or molested. The writer of this story, in my opinion needs to switch places with her for what’s been written in this “news article.”

    Oh, one more thing. I do believe that God is great–oh, its ok for me to say that, I’m a Christian. Hope you understand the sarcasm. And by the way, my son-in-law served two terms in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. So cut the crap, because that’s what this article is.

    Everyone who wants to hear the truth go to or to get the truth. Recommend

  • Sep 25, 2010 - 7:58AM

    While awaiting moderation, here’s yet another thought: maybe she really took down the world trade center with box cutters. That’s one for you! For all you guys that believed that go listen to Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory of 911 and http://www.infowars.comRecommend

  • Ryguy987
    Sep 25, 2010 - 8:50AM

    To you people asking why it is they aren’t bringing these documents up to the courts is because that would be a really stupid move on the governments’ part. When classified or controversial information gets out about the governments, it’s usually a better idea on the government side of things to not bring attention to it in any way UNLESS a primary or regarded news source reports on it. If the information is out and the people don’t know it’s out, then it aids the government’s agenda to almost never bring attention to the information.

    As for the article itself, it didn’t really surprise me. When you look at how all the government officials have been acting as well as all the cover-ups leaked to the press before wikileaks was in existence; add in a little bit of higher thought and you could predict stuff like this in a heart beat, especially in today’s worldRecommend

    Sep 25, 2010 - 10:25PM

    this is a fairy tale,even my 11 year bro will not believe this.can a terrorist be that stupid to give her passport to a shopkeeper?.for God sake learn to make a story.can i plz get details of aafia movement?Recommend

  • why required
    Sep 29, 2010 - 9:20PM

    re: “While being questioned, the female got a hold of a weapon”
    that differs from the story of her grabbing the gun from behind a curtain.

    i’ve never been into conspracy theories, but everything about this story smells of a frame-up/cover-up. the woman was smaller than her 12 yr old son and, from a video that i saw of her 1st questioning by the afghan police [which i hope i can find again] she had all the animation of a limp dishrag. how did she grab this NOT LITTLE GUN, but HEAVY ASSAULT RIFLE and fire 2 shots before 4 ARMED USA INTERRIGATORS COULD STOP HER. i just really dont think so.

    something is wrong here. the usa press is virtually silent after the verdict. and nobody is even saying anything about the CHILD PRISON CAMPS in afghanistan that 1 or 2 of her kids were presumably kept at. i never thot our press was censored, but now i wonder.

    and that diamond brokering deal that she was being accused of, apparently it has been proven that it was not her because evidence showed that she was in boston at the time the fbi said she was in africa doing the deal.
    opening the post office box seems like nothing. any nice person might have done that for someone.
    all the rest of her ‘connections’ with supposed terrorists comes from confessions coerced thru water boarding, etc. the fbi wanted to ‘get’ her. it seems not unlikely that they wd have given siddiqui’s name to the suspects and demanded that they admit they ‘worked’ with her.

    at very least, no american sd tolerate that innocent children-toddlers/infants-are being kept in prison camps. this alone is HIDDEOUS!Recommend

  • why required
    Sep 29, 2010 - 9:34PM

    the whole purse thing could be a plant, and a silly one. the fbi made an issue about her AND HER EX-HUSBAND, having bought the anarchist handbook or anarchist’s arsenal [along with other suspicious stuff] back in 2002. how likely is she going to show up with the same book 6 yrs later? PLANT!
    her ex seems to be covering for the usa govt and saying stuff to incriminate her. he is always given a pass from the usa govt. i wonder if he is not some kind of usa agent.Recommend

  • insider
    Oct 1, 2010 - 5:00PM

    Which terrorist on earth carries all his training material and manufacturing kits with him/her all the time even when visiting governor’s compound? I’ll not talk about other idiots in the world. I would however like to address some Pakistani schmuck’s by saying that since she is not your daughter or sister or a relative, her story does not send a chill down your spine. Yvonne Ridley was an idiot who wasted her time by informing you about your fellow being tortured at guantanamo bay. She really did not know that this country is made up of 54645whose next generation is going to live on streets.
    – Kudos from Singapore…Recommend

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