PAKISTANI TALIBAN BEHIND NEW YORK BOMB PLOT, SAYS US

By NBF NEWS
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The United States has evidence the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted car bombing in New York's Times Square, Attorney General Eric Holder says.

According to a British Broadcasting Corporation' report, Holder said the militants helped to facilitate the plot, and 'probably helped finance it'.

US officials had previously rejected claims by the group that it was behind the 1 May plot.

A Pakistani-born US citizen has been charged with the attempted bombing in New York's tourist quarter a week ago.

Mr. Faisal Shazhad, 30, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, has co-operated with investigators, and admits receiving bomb-making training in the Pakistani region of Waziristan, prosecutors have said.

'We've now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack,' Mr Holder said on ABC television's Sunday current affairs talk show This Week.

'We know that they helped facilitate it. We know that they probably helped finance it, and that (Shahzad) was working at their direction.'

Holder said there was nothing to suggest the government of Pakistan was aware of the plot.

He also said the Obama administration was satisfied for now with the level of co-operation it was receiving from Islamabad into the investigation of the attempted bombing.

His words were echoed by White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, who told Cable Network News, 'It looks like he was working on behalf of the TTP, the Pakistani Taliban. This group is closely allied with al-Qaeda. This is something that we're taking very seriously.'

If proved true, this would be the first time the Pakistani Taleban has been linked to a terror plot in the United States itself, the BBC's Madeleine Morris in Washington reports.

The bomb was discovered last Saturday evening in Times Square, which was busy with tourists and theatregoers at the time.

Bomb disposal experts were called in after a street-vendor noticed smoke coming from a Nissan Pathfinder, which had been left with its engine running and hazard lights flashing.

In the hours that followed, a claim of responsibility by the Pakistani Taliban was dismissed by the New York police. The city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said there was no evidence the attempted bombing was the work of al-Qaeda or any other big terrorist group.

However, the unexploded bomb left crucial evidence intact that detectives used to trace Mr Shahzad.

He was arrested two days after the failed bomb attempt, trying to board a flight to Dubai from New York's JFK airport.