Pakistan: NY bomb suspect 'met Taliban explosives expert'

Islamabad, 5 May (AKI) - By Syed Saleem Shahzad - Pakistani investigators believe the man accused of the failed bomb attack in Times Square, Faisal Shahzad, learned about explosives from a senior Taliban expert at a training camp in Pakistan. Mohammad Rehan, one of eight people arrested in Pakistan late Tuesday, is accused of introducing Shahzad to militants gave him lessons in handling explosives.

According to security sources Rehan was arrested in the Pakistani southern port city of Karachi.

He is suspected of taking Shahzad, a son of retired senior air force officer, to the northern city of Peshawar and then to North Waziristan, which is now a Taliban stronghold.

Officials believe 30-year-old Shahzad, a Karachi-born Pushtun, had no relationship with any militant organisation, until Rehan put him in contact with Qari Hussain Mehsud, the chief of the Pakistani Taliban’s suicide squad and explosives expert.

Hussain is believed to have provided training to Shahzad on improvised explosives on a recent visit to Pakistan.

Pakistani law enforcement agencies are working closely with US authorities to determine whether he had links to militant groups in Pakistan.

Officials from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence have detained Tauseef Ahmed, a friend with whom Shahzad stayed on his last trip to Karachi, and Shahzad's father-in-law Iftikhar Mian.

Shahzad was arrested aboard a Dubai-bound plane at JFK airport on Monday after a car bomb failed to detonate in the busy Times Square theatre district on Saturday.

According to court papers, Shahzad has admitted his role in Saturday's failed attack and admitted to receiving bomb-making training in Pakistan.

The Pakistan-born US citizen has been charged with terrorism-related crimes which include attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and transporting an explosive device with the intent to kill.

"It is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in the country," said US attorney-general Eric Holder.

Another man arrested, Muhammad Rehan, had spent time with Shahzad during a recent visit there, Pakistani officials said.

Photo: Xinhua


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