Padilla’s Accomplice?: Binyam Muhammad

Name: Binyam Ahmed Muhammad

ISN #: 1458

Citizenship: Ethiopia

Birth Date/Year: July 24, 1978

Alleged Affiliation: Al Qaeda recruit and Jose Padilla™s would-be accomplice.

Key Allegation: Binyam Muhammad was plotting an attack inside the United States at the time of his capture.

Details of Capture: Muhammad was arrested by Pakistani authorities on April 10, 2002 at an airport in Karachi, Pakistan while attempting to board a flight to London using a fraudulent passport.

Current Status: As of late 2008, Binyam was detained at Guantanamo.


In June 2001, a new convert to Islam named Binyam Ahmed Muhammad, who had been living with his Ethiopian family in London since 1994, arrived at the al Farouq training camp in Afghanistan. More than one hundred of the detainees we examined in detail are alleged to have trained at the camp. In fact, al Farouq was indisputably the centerpiece of the Taliban™s and al Qaeda™s training infrastructure in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. A network of guesthouses located in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran funneled new recruits to and from Farouq. After completing their training, newly minted jihadists would be sent to the frontlines, other training facilities for additional instruction, or tasked with serving the terror network in a variety of other ways.

According to the U.S. government, Binyam Muhammad was charged with a special mission after training at Farouq and briefly visiting the front lines. A who™s who of senior al Qaeda officials allegedly tasked Muhammad and Jose Padilla, an American detained in Chicago and convicted on terrorism charges, with attacking targets inside the United States.

In unclassified files produced at Guantanamo, as well as an indictment issued by a Guantanamo Military Commission, the U.S. government has outlined Binyam Muhammad™s time in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to the government, Osama bin Laden visited the al Farouq camp “several times”

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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