Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Pakistani Major Linked to Times Square Bomber Shahzad

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Last Wednesday, May 19, it was announced that investigators in Pakistan had arrested a former Pakistani officer, Major Adnan, in association with the attempted Times Square bombing attempt of May 1.  It was believed then that he had been dismissed from their army two months previous and was arrested at his home in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

According to the Los Angeles Times, evidence is now mounting that Major Adnan had been in actual cell phone contact with the bombing suspect, Faisal Shahzad, the day of the attempt itself, including the time when Shahzad was actually parking the car in Times Square. 

U.S. officials are saying their information about Adnan and his relationship with Shahzad is limited, and are negotiating with the Pakistani government for more access to him. The sequence of phone calls between the two suspects indicate that Major Adnan was aware of Mr. Shahzad’s intentions, according to a Pakistani source who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the investigation.

Authorities have said that Shahzad had been in Pakistan last summer and went to the tribal areas later to receive instructions at a Taliban camp in bomb making.They feel he met with Adnan in the capital of Islamabad at  some point in 2009.  

When Shahzad attempted to blow up the car bomb in Times Square it would not detonate.He was arrested two days later and has been cooperating with U.S. authorities since that time.

The Pakistani source said that Major Adnan was not retired, but was still in the army at the time of his arrest and his possible contact with Mr. Shahzad.According to the Pakistani army, it for was disciplinary reasons that the Major was arrested and not any association with the events in New York City. 

Observers believe authorities in Pakistan have been trying to downplay that Shahzad was in league with the Taliban there, a group they consider a major national problem, but evidence is mounting to the contrary. It would be embarrassing to the Pakistani government should it be found that an army officer was involved even while still active in their military.

The latest known arrest in the case is that of Salman Ashraf Khan, co-owner of the Hanif Rajput Catering Service, a company in Islamabad that has even served the U.S. embassy there.Authorities announced that development on May 21, after the embassy posted warnings on its website that Mr. Khan’s business had terrorist ties.So far there have been about 13 suspects taken in custody regarding the Times Square plot, including some in the United States.

According to the Associated Press, relatives of three such men being kept by Pakistan for possible connection with the bombing attempt in New York, insisted at a news conference on Sunday that these particular men are innocent and demanded that the government charge them or release them.The suspects have been in custody for at least two weeks.Their relatives are concerned that, being devout Muslims, the men were mistakenly targeted.Sha

Courtroom sketch of Faisal Shahzad: AP Images





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