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05/12/2010 03:31 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Pakistan: No Evidence Pakistani Taliban Linked To Shahzad

No evidence Pakistan Taliban linked to Times Square bomber, Pakistan government says. Pakistani officials say Washington is exploiting the NYC bomb plot to pressure Pakistan to launch a new military offensive in North Waziristan, the Guardian reports.

Pakistani investigators came to this conclusion after interrogating Muhamad Rehan, a member of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) extremist group and the only suspected link between terror suspect Faisal Shahzad and Pakistan militants. They say Rehan, who is related to Shahzad's wife, was not an active member of the JEM, and that he has not given them any information to prove Shahzad was linked to a terror group in Pakistan.

This claim seems to confirm General David Petraeus's initial belief that Shahzad was a "lone wolf" who was "inspired by militants in Pakistan but didn't have direct contact with them," a belief also held by New Yorker contributor Steve Coll.

Washington considers placing Pakistan Taliban on terror blacklist. The State Department says it had been considering placing the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan on the list for several months, and accelerated this process after the failed NYC bombing, the AP reports.

This comes after five U.S. Senators -- Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) -- sent an open letter to Hillary Clinton calling on her to add the group to its terrorism blacklist.

If the group is added to the list, it would become a criminal offense for Americans to offer material support for the Pakistan Taliban, and any assets it holds in the U.S. would be frozen. Members of the group would also be banned from traveling to the U.S.

Curtailing Karzai behind the scenes. Olivia Hampton, writing for the Guardian, argues that the Obama administration, instead of attacking Karzai in public over the debacle, has decided to embrace Karzai in public while privately curtailing his power:

For all the pomp and circumstance of the four-day visit by the Afghan president and his posse of cabinet ministers and senior advisors to the US capital, the Obama administration is working hard behind the scenes to weaken his authority by reinforcing local governance to boost elusive stability of a war-torn country.

U.S. reassures Pakistan over NYC plot. Pakistan will not suffer a reduction in American aid after the Pakistan Taliban were linked to the Times Square bomb plot, the Times of India reports. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an interview with CBS, had earlier claimed Pakistan would face "severe consequences" if such a link were found.

But Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Pakistan's the Nation reports, set a more conciliatory tone. In an interview on CNN, Gates emphasized that "the [U.S.-Pakistan] relationship has been improving significantly, and I expect that to continue," adding that in planning its offensive against the Taliban, the U.S. would "have to respect" Pakistani concerns about its sovereignty being violated.

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