An Australian Taliban Fighter Captured

An Australian man captured in Afghanistan while fighting with the Taliban was a terrorist in the eyes of his family, according to his father. Adelaide born and raised David Hicks, 26, was yesterday revealed as the man trained by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan and arrested by Northern Alliance troops at the weekend. Federal police refused to confirm his identity but Islamic community leaders in Adelaide recalled encounters in the 1990s with a man known as David who had converted to Islam. While the Hicks family refused to comment to most media when approached at their suburban Salisbury Park home yesterday, the Adelaide Advertiser today reported that his father Terry recalled a phone call from his son on September 28 - 17 days after the terrorist attacks on the US. It was in that conversation that Hicks told his father he was fighting for the Taliban. "That's when I picked myself up from the floor," Mr Hicks was quoted as telling the Advertiser. "I think of a terrorist as someone with a bomb strapped to him, but he's a terrorist in our eyes as he's fighting against his own kind. "I told him what I thought of what he was doing." Mr Hicks said he learned of his son's capture when ASIO officers visited his home on Tuesday night. He said he told the agents the name of a person who had sponsored his son's activities. "They have sponsors here but I can't divulge the names," he said. The ASIO agents seized all relevant photographs and letters sent to family members and accessed phone records. Hicks had adopted the name Mohammed Dawood, the reports said. In information released by the federal government yesterday, Attorney-General Daryl Williams said only that the Australian arrested in Afghanistan entered the country in 2000 and trained extensively with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda group. He left Australia in mid-1999, fighting alongside ethnic Albanian Muslims in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against Serbia. Later that year he travelled to Pakistan, where he trained with the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which claims to be fighting a holy war against India's occupation of Kashmir and is believed to have links with bin Laden.

Henry L. Marconi PRAVDA.Ru Sydney

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