- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. | Authorities believe Daniel Patrick Boyd used tales of fighting the Soviets alongside the mujahedeen to recruit followers into a North Carolina terrorism ring, but U.S. officials in Pakistan while Mr. Boyd was there doubt his stories.

The former officials questioned whether Mr. Boyd, 39, had any affiliation with the Islamic guerrillas, noting the Soviets had all but left Afghanistan by the time the young, blond Muslim convert arrived from the United States two decades ago.

Mr. Boyd’s stories were part of an indictment accusing him and seven followers of planning violent jihad overseas. The indictment says some of the men were training in military-style tactics and that all were plotting to kill, kidnap and maim in a holy war overseas.

Regardless of whether Mr. Boyd was ever actually involved with the mujahedeen, authorities said he was preparing for holy war and found more than two dozen weapons, a stockpile of ammunition and gas masks at his house.

In 1991, when Mr. Boyd was arrested in Pakistan and accused of bank robbery, he said he was set up by a bank employee who had made inappropriate advances toward his wife and tried to pilfer money from his family.

A Pakistani court sentenced Mr. Boyd and his brother Charles to have a hand and foot lopped off under Islamic law, but those types of punishments are rarely enforced. Mr. Boyd deemed it a “court of infidels,” and when an appeals court overturned the convictions in October 1991, Mr. Boyd said “the truth has finally come out.”

Yet the truth came into question when prosecutors released an audiotape of Mr. Boyd talking in May to a person prosecutors have said is an unidentified witness. On the tape, Mr. Boyd vowed that he had changed since his time in jail in Pakistan.

“We were also young and dumb and not thinking straight,” Mr. Boyd said on the tape, played during a court hearing last week. “Here we have lots of talent, lots of experience, lots of brains.”

Elizabeth Jones, who was deputy chief of mission for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, was involved in trying to free the Boyd brothers from jail in 1991. She said she never received any information that they had been involved with any mujahedeen group.

“It’s fairly unlikely, if you ask me,” Miss Jones said. “I would have heard about it at the time. If there was any concern about his associations, we would have known about it.”

“I think he has an active imagination,” she said.

Prosecutors are using the stories to describe Mr. Boyd as a veteran of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan who fought against the Soviet Union.

Mr. Boyd once told FBI agents about the Russians going on a 23-day siege of a training camp, including the use of Scud missiles. Separately, on an audiotape from May, he brags about watching an ammunition plane crash in Khost, Afghanistan.

The mujahedeen did lay siege to Khost in 1991, fighting against the Soviet-backed Afghan government, but former state and intelligence officials don’t recall an ammunition plane crashing.

Retired Army Lt. Colonel Lester W. Grau, co-author of a book about the mujahedeen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, also questioned Mr. Boyd’s story. “No one would defend a training camp,” said Col. Grau, a researcher and occasional lecturer at the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

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