A former US Congressman has pleaded guilty

A former US Congressman has pleaded guilty in connection with a terrorist financing conspiracy that sent money to al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the US Justice Department said on Wednesday.

Mark Deli Siljander, who represented Michigan in the House of Representatives from 1981-87 and was a delegate to the UN under President Ronald Reagan, pleaded guilty to acting as an agent for an Islamic charity with ties to international terrorism, according to Beth Phillips, US Attorney for the western district of Missouri.

Siljander was the last of five co-defendants in the case that involved the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) of Columbia, Missouri. IARA was shut down by the US government in 2004 for connections to terrorism.

The Justice Department had charged that IARA, whose headquarters were in Sudan, also funnelled money to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the militant Afghan leader and former prime minister of Afghanistan who leads the country's second-largest insurgent group.

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