Tags: Pakistan | village | bomber | suspect

Pakistan Village Says NY Suspect Showed No American Hatred

Wednesday, 05 May 2010 09:17 AM

MOHIB BANDA, Pakistan - In his home village in Pakistan, shocked residents remember Faisal Shahzad as a modern father of two from a good family who showed no hatred of America or sympathy with radical Islam.

The 30-year-old naturalised American spent much of the last decade in the United States, where he has been charged on five counts of terrorism, including attempted use of a “weapon of mass destruction” to kill people in New York.

Villagers say the son of a retired air force officer grew up in a comfortable and respected middle-class family, was privately educated and went to university with other sons of the elite in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

US media reports say Shahzad had worked as a financial analyst in Connecticut, where he lived before his house was repossessed last year because of debt problems.

In the 1980s, when Shahzad was a child, Peshawar was a staging post for the mujahideen who fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, a place frequented by Osama bin Laden and swollen by a morass of two million Afghan refugees.

But villagers could give no clues as to why the fresh-faced lightly bearded man allegedly drove a Nissan SUV crammed with a large, but malfunctioning bomb into Times Square, nor whether he acted in concert with Islamist groups.

“We were shocked, why did he do this?” said resident Aziz Khan after news spread like wildfire through Mohib Banda, about 25 kilometres from Peshawar, where Shahzad was brought up in an upscale neighbourhood.

“Our village is very liberal. We fear it will be targeted now by security forces. Why have you come here, why don't you go to Peshawar,” he said.

It is in the teeming city of 2.5 million people on the threshold of Pakistan's tribal badlands, where according to US authorities, Shahzad underwent bomb making training in one of the most dangerous regions on Earth.

The dusty streets of Mohib Banda, set in fields where threshers were harvesting wheat, are a few kilometres from the Grand Trunk Road that links the capital Islamabad to Pakistan's dangerous north.

To read full Pakistan Dawn story — Go Here Now.

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Wednesday, 05 May 2010 09:17 AM
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