Tags: Pakistan | bomber | military | chief

Pakistan Detains Military Chief in NY Terror

Tuesday, 18 May 2010 09:37 PM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Investigators have arrested a Pakistani army major linked to the prime suspect in the botched attempt to bomb New York City's Times Square early this month, Pakistani law enforcement sources said Tuesday.

The major's involvement with suspect Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to fly to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, remains unclear. Law enforcement sources said the major had met Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, in Islamabad 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.

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The twist in the case comes as Pakistani authorities have learned more about the 30-year-old Shahzad's links with the Pakistani Taliban, the militant group suspected of helping him carry out the attempted bombing.

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 Taliban member's account appears to corroborate assertions by U.S. investigators that the Pakistani Taliban played a significant role in the events that led up to Shahzad's attempt to detonate an SUV loaded with propane tanks and fertilizer in Times Square on May 1.

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Tuesday, 18 May 2010 09:37 PM
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