Pakistan Arrests Army Major Linked to Times Square Bomber
May 19, 2010
(ChattahBox)—As the failed Times Square car-bomber, Faisal Shahzad appeared in a New York federal court on Tuesday, Pakistani law enforcement officials arrested an Army Major linked to Shahzad’s plot to blow up a SUV in the heart of busy Manhattan. Few details of the Pakistani officer’s involvement with the would-be Islamic terrorist Shahzad were disclosed. But it’s known the military officer met personally with the Times Square plotter in Pakistan and kept in touch with him by cell phone, clearly indicating Shahzad had significant help from Pakistani sympathizers in his thwarted attack on United States’ soil.
Pakistani officials, at first dismissed allegations by Shahzad that he had help from the Taliban based in North Waziristan, but evidence now suggests otherwise. And the arrest of a senior Pakistani military official, raises implications of the influence of the Taliban on the country’s military forces tasked with fighting the growing influence of the Islamic insurgents:
“Law enforcement sources said the major had met Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, in Islamabad, the capital, and was in cellphone contact with him.The major’s arrest marks the first time someone in Pakistan’s military establishment has been directly linked to the case. The sources would not say when the alleged meeting and phone calls between Shahzad and the major took place, or what was discussed. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation.”
Shahzad was raised in a respected military family in Pakistan. His father, Bahar ul-Haq, is a retired vice air marshal in the air force.
Pakistani officials also have a Taliban fighter in custody, who reportedly met with Shahzad in Pakistan and provided him with funds to carry out his botched car-bombing attempt:
“Another suspect being held by Pakistani authorities is a Pakistani Taliban member who appeared to play the role of liaison between Shahzad and the militant group. The Taliban member has told Pakistani intelligence agents that he met Shahzad three times last summer, Pakistani law enforcement sources said.At one of those meetings, the Taliban member gave Shahzad an undisclosed amount of money because Shahzad had said he was running out of cash, according to the sources. U.S. officials familiar with the case have said that the Taliban gave Shahzad roughly $15,000 to pay for the attempted bombing.”
The Times Square car-bombing attempt marks the first time the Taliban have been behind an attack inside the United States.
Source: the LA Times