Wikileaks documents: N. Korea sold missiles to al-Qaeda, Taliban
A powerful Afghan insurgent leader and a man identified as Osama Bin Laden's financial adviser purchased ground-to-air missiles from North Korea in 2005, according to an uncorroborated U.S. intelligence report released by Wikileaks on Sunday.
"On 19 November 2005, Hezb-Islami party leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar [sic] and Dr. Amin [no last name], Osama Bin Ladin's financial advisor, both flew to North Korea departing from Iran," the undated report said.
"While in North Korea, the two confirmed a deal with the North Korean government for remote controlled rockets for use against American and coalition aircraft," said the report, whose origin could not be determined from the version published on the Wikileaks site.
Wikileaks had previously said it planned to strip any markings from the documents that might help U.S. law enforcement agencies identify who leaked them.
The intelligence report said, "The shipment of said weapons is expected shortly after the New Year," meaning the beginning of 2006.
The terms of the deal were not reported.
"The two men stayed in North Korea for two weeks, returning to Helmand, Afghanistan around Dec. 3," the report said. Hekmatyar proceeded to eastern Afghanistan.
Then, about 18 months later, according a previously undisclosed after-action military report obtained by Wikileaks, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter was downed by a missile "shortly after crossing over the Helmand River."
"The impact of the missile projected the aft end of the aircraft up as it burst into flames followed immediately by a nose dive into the crash site with no survivors," the May 30, 2007 report added.
"Based on description of launch, size of round, and impact force of the projectile," the report said, "it is assessed to be bigger then an RPG [rocket propelled grenade] and possibly a Surface-to-Air Missile."
It added, "Witness statements from (troops) suggest (it) was struck by a MANPAD and is consistent with MANPAD event described by Arrow 25."
The name of the alleged Bin Laden financial adviser who went to North Korea, "Dr. Amin," could not immediately be found in media reports, scholarly papers or books. If such a man exists, he would be the latest of several individuals identified as filling that role over the years.
Update: According to The Guardian newspaper, one of three media organizations chosen by Wikileaks to receive advance copies of the documents, Amin's full name is Amin al-Haq or ul-Haq.
Amin was reportedly picked up by Pakistani security forces in Lahore in 2008, the newspaper said, citing the Long War Journal.
On Dec. 21, 2007, LWJ editor Bill Roggio identified Amin as "the chief of Osama bin Laden’s Black Guard security detail." After his arrest in January 2008, he was said to be "under interrogation at an undisclosed location."
"Amin has since disappeared from view," The Guardian said.
No previous reports linking North Korea to the Afghan insurgency could be immediately located.
If true, the report unearthed by Wikileaks illustrates the length to which North Korea will go to kick the United States -- and generate cash for its sanctions-strapped economy, experts said.
"If they are a paying customer, that would help the North Korean cash flow," said one of them, Terence J. Roehrig, a professor of national security decision-making at the Naval War College who has written about North Korea. "Arms sales are an important source of income for the regime."
The United States and and South Korea are conducting joint naval maneuvers in a show of force to North Korea. Pyongyang has vowed to respond with "a sacred war and a powerful nuclear deterrence."
Update: Here is the exact text of the (uncorroborated) intelligence report:
THREAT TO AIRCRAFT IN HELMEND PROVINCE
Organization(s) Involved: HEZB E ISLAMI GULBUDDIN
TEXT: on 19 november 2005, hezb-islami party leader, gulbuddin hekmartyr and dr. amin ((nln)), usama bin ladin,s financial advisor, both flew to north korea departing from an iran. they returned to helmand //geocoord: 3100n/06400e//, afghanistan on approximately 03 december 2005. while in north korea, the two confirmed a deal with the north korean government for remote controlled rockets for use against american and coalition aircraft. the deal was closed for an undetermined amount of money. the shipment of said weapons is expected shortly after the new year. nfi. upon return from north korea dr. amin stayed in helmand, and hekmartyr went to konar, nuristan province
| July 26, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
Categories: Intelligence, Military | Tags: Amin al-Haq, Amin ul-Haq, Bill Roggio, Dr. Amin, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
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