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Shahzad Reportedly Went To Training Camp In Pakistan

Huffington Post   First Posted: 07/05/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:25 PM ET

Shahzad

Times square suspect reportedly trained in Pakistan. Faisal Shahzad has told investigators he received bomb-making training in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region of Waziristan before attempting to detonate a bomb in New York's Times Square last weekend, the Independent reports.

Shahzad's training in Pakistan suggest his failed attack was supported by the Pakistan Taliban, but Pakistan officials continue to doubt the Taliban had the "reach" to plan an attack in New York.

However, in an undated letter obtained by the AP, Pakistan Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud threatened attacks on the United States and Pakistan in retaliation for the arrest of Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted of attempted murder and assault after trying to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Mehsud also threatened to strike the United States in a video released earlier this week.

The Daily Beast's Bruce Riedel agrees it's "abundantly clear" that "the Pakistani Taliban has the intention of attacking America," adding:

So far its reach outside of Pakistan has been amateurish, but capability will follow intent. You do not need a PhD in electrical engineering to build a car bomb. Those skills are taught at dozens of training camps and madrassas across Pakistan, 3,500 of them just in the mega-city of Karachi alone.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is carrying out its own investigation of the Shahzad case, and has so far detained a number of his friends and relatives in Pakistan for questioning. But they have reportedly found few leads.

From McClatchy:

"At this stage, people are just being rounded up. Anyone who knew him," said one senior Pakistani official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the issue and couldn't be named. "We're chasing everything down."

UPDATE: Pakistan arrested a member of Jaish-e-Muhammad, an Al Qaeda-linked terror group, in connection with the failed Times Square bombing, the Los Angeles Times reports. Authorities allege Sheikh Mohammed Rehan drove with Shahzad from Karachi to Peshawar, where they stayed for two weeks. It is not known whether Jaish-e-Muhammad ordered last weekend's failed attack.

It is also unclear why they went to Peshawar or whom they met with there. Peshawar has long been a base for the Taliban and Al Qaeda; Shahzad's family also live in Peshawar.

Taliban strike provincial compound, kill four. Ten militants and suicide bombers, armed with automatic weapons and disguised as Afghan police, stormed an Afghan provincial council meeting in Zaranj, the capital of Nimruz province, killing at least three police and one provincial council member, reports the Guardian and the New York Times.

Nimruz province has become a new center for Taliban strikes after U.S. troops drove insurgents out of neighboring Helmand province.

More from the New York Times:

The attackers approached the gates of the provincial council's office, whose members were meeting inside, and sprayed bullets at police officers guarding the building, killing two of them. One of the attackers detonated explosives strapped to his body, killing a female provincial council member, the authorities said. Afghan police shot the other militant dead.


A short distance away, four of the assailants took shelter in a house near the provincial governor's office and opened fire on nearby buildings, but were shot and killed by police.

Another of the attackers tried to ram a Toyota Corolla packed with explosives through the front gate of the governor's office. He also was shot and killed.

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