NPR logo Times Sq Suspect's Ties To Pakistani Taliban Unclear


Times Sq Suspect's Ties To Pakistani Taliban Unclear

There's conflicting information on Wednesday as to whether or not Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed Times Square car bombing, is associated with the Pakistani Taliban.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that counterterrorism officials in both the U.S. and Pakistan now believe there may be a connection between Shahzad and the Pakistani Taliban.

U.S. and Pakistani investigators are giving increased credence to possible links between accused Times Square bomb plotter Faisal Shahzad and the Pakistan Taliban, with one senior Pakistani official saying Mr. Faisal received instruction from the Islamist group's suicide-bomb trainer.

If the links are verified, it would mark a stark shift in how the Pakistan Taliban—an affiliate of the Taliban in Afghanistan—and related jihadist groups in Pakistan pursue their goals. Until now, they have focused on attacks within Pakistan and in India, but they appear to be ramping up efforts to attack the U.S.

According to the Justice Department's criminal complaint against Shahzad, he claimed to have received training in bomb-making in the Waziristan, an area of Pakistan known to harbor Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.

But then there's what we've reportedly heard from the Pakistani Taliban itself. It initially claimed credit for the bombing attempt which it later backed away from.

As the Associated Press reported:

The Pakistani Taliban originally took credit for the Times Square bomb, but officials have said there was no evidence that was true. Azam Tariq, a spokesman for the group, told CNN on Wednesday that his group did not train Shahzad.

Leaning in the other direction, however, was a CNN report Wednesday afternoon that a Pakistani source or sources said Faisal met with Pakistani Taliban leaders in July 2009.

At this point, it's hard to know what to believe until there's more definitive reporting from credible sources.