Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 17:48 UK

Afghan convicted in US drug case

Bashir Noorzai
Mr Noorzai plans to appeal

A former tribal leader from Afghanistan has been convicted by a court in New York of conspiring to smuggle more than $50m of heroin into the United States.

Prosecutors said Bashir Noorzai grew opium poppies in Afghanistan and used laboratories there and in Pakistan to process them into heroin.

They said Mr Noorzai gave the Taleban explosives and weapons in return for protection of his crops.

A lawyer for Mr Noorzai said he had not had a fair trial and would appeal.

He could be sentenced to life in prison.

Mr Noorzai, who was arrested when he flew to the US three years ago, said he had supported the Taleban in the 1990s, but had later helped establish the US-backed government.

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