herald

Monday 25 September 2017

Taliban trained him to kill us, say cops

US authorities were still questioning a Pakistani-American man today, who they say admitted trying to bomb New York's Times Square.

They say he claims to have received training in a Taliban and al-Qa'ida stronghold in Pakistan.

Prosecutors have charged Faisal Shahzad (30), a naturalised US citizen born in Pakistan with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and trying to kill and maim.

He faces a life sentence if he is convicted.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Shahzad was cooperating with investigators and had waived his Miranda rights, which grant him the right to a lawyer.

"He's giving us significant information," said Mr Kelly. "We want to learn as much as we can about him, we want to learn about the training, who gave the training, where did it happen."



TOWERS

Shahzad was arrested late on Monday after he was taken off an Emirates plane that was about to depart for Dubai. Hours later, several of his relatives were arrested in Pakistan, security sources said.

Mr Kelly said it was the 11th thwarted attack on New York City since hijacked airliners destroyed the World Trade Center's twin towers on September 11, 2001 killing more than 2,600 people.

President Barack Obama said the investigation would seek to determine whether Shahzad had any connection with foreign extremists.

The Taliban in Pakistan have claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing, saying it was planned to avenge the killing in April of al-Qa'ida's two top leaders in Iraq. While some US officials were sceptical about the claim, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he believed the failed attack was a retaliation for the United States targeting Taliban followers.



WIFE

"This is a blow back. This is a reaction. This is retaliation," he said. "Let's not be naive. They're not going to sort of sit and welcome you to eliminate them. They're going to fight back. And we have to be ready for this fight."

If links are found between the attempted bombing and Pakistan's Taliban, Islamabad could come under renewed US pressure to open risky new fronts against militants.

Shahzad told authorities he acted alone, but officials say he recently spent five months in Pakistan and Mr Kelly said Shahzad had a wife and two children living in Peshawar.

A former financial analyst who lived and worked in Connecticut, Shahzad was accused of driving a crude homemade bomb of gasoline, propane gas, fireworks and fertiliser into Times Square on Saturday evening.

hnews@herald.ie

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