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Khadr teen admits role in terrorism, U.S. alleges

The United States alleges that teenager Omar Khadr, the only Canadian citizen being held at Guantanamo Bay, has admitted plotting "acts of terrorism" against American soldiers in Afghanistan.

New U.S. Department of Defence documents, obtained by The Globe and Mail, say that Mr. Khadr, who will turn 18 this weekend, is a trained al-Qaeda operative who planted land mines intended to blow up U.S. vehicles. This is said to have happened right before his capture during a firefight in July, 2002, in which he is believed to have killed an American soldier.

"Circa June, 2002, the detainee conducted a surveillance mission where he went to an airport near Khost to collect information on U.S. convoy movements," the documents say. "On July 20, 2002, detainee planted 10 mines against U.S. forces in the mountain region between Khost and Ghardez. This region is a choke point where U.S. convoys would travel."

The documents further say that Mr. Khadr has admitted working as a translator to co-ordinate al-Qaeda land-mine missions and "acknowledged that these land-mine missions are acts of terrorism and that participating in them would make him a terrorist."

One week after allegedly laying the mines near Khost, Mr. Khadr was captured when U.S. soldiers raided a compound in Afghanistan, the country to which his Egyptian-Canadian father had moved him and his siblings in the 1990s.

It has already been widely reported that during the battle, Mr. Khadr, who was then 15, launched a grenade that killed a U.S. medic. He was himself shot three times and the rest of the militants he was fighting with were killed.

The new U.S. allegations are significant because they give an indication of the amount of incriminating evidence prosecutors may eventually try to use against Mr. Khadr (though the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has asked that still more information be kept classified for national-security reasons).

The allegations also challenge accounts by his relatives, who say that the teenager never attended the al-Qaeda camps and was merely a boy forced to defend himself from hostile forces.

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