Feds say Afghan national lied about ties to terrorist group

An Afghan national living in Philadelphia was arrested Wednesday on charges that he lied on his U.S. citizenship application about ties to an anti-western insurgent group.

Prosecutors say Hayatullah Dawari, 62, joined Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, a group whose stated aims include the overthrow of the Afghan government and the removal of western nations from the country, before moving to the United States in 2008.

According to an indictment unsealed Wednesday, Dawari maintained his connection to the group even after his arrival in America. Yet, when asked on his citizenship application whether he had ever been a member of any organization, association, or political party, he answered no, prosecutors said. They declined to discuss the extent of Dawari's involvement with the group Wednesday.

U.S. authorities have labeled Hezb-e-Islami Gulbiddin a terrorist organization for its long-established ties to al-Qaeda and several attacks its members are believed to have carried out on American interests in Afghanistan. Dawari, a graduate of Community College of Philadelphia who has been working as a convenience store clerk, could face up to 20 years in prison and the revocation of his permanent residency status should he be convicted. - Jeremy Roebuck