Times Square Bomb Attempt Puts Focus On Pakistan

David Rohde i i

New York Times journalist David Rohde was held captive by the Taliban in North Waziristan, a remote tribal area of Pakistan, for seven months until his escape in June 2009. He was imprisoned 10 days by Serbian officials in 1995 while covering the war in Bosnia for The Christian Science Monitor. Charles Krupa/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Charles Krupa/AP
David Rohde

New York Times journalist David Rohde was held captive by the Taliban in North Waziristan, a remote tribal area of Pakistan, for seven months until his escape in June 2009. He was imprisoned 10 days by Serbian officials in 1995 while covering the war in Bosnia for The Christian Science Monitor.

Charles Krupa/AP

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As investigators continue to probe the attempted car bombing in Times Square, there are increasing concerns that radical groups based in Pakistan may have played a role. Court documents indicate that Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American car-bombing suspect, admitted traveling to the Waziristan region of Pakistan for bomb-making training.

American journalist David Rohde says North Waziristan has become the prime sanctuary for extremists who launch attacks against American troops in the region and are increasingly capable of planning and supporting terrorist attacks in the United States.

It's a region Rohde knows all too well.

For seven months, he was held captive by the Taliban in North Waziristan, a remote tribal area in Pakistan that shares a border with Afghanistan. Rohde — currently on leave from The New York Times — recounted his ambush, subsequent imprisonment and escape in the Times series "Held by the Taliban."

Rohde joins Fresh Air to discuss recent developments in the Shahzad case.

Waziristan

Highlighted is the region where David Rohde was held for seven months and where Faisal Shahzad allegedly trained. AP hide caption

itoggle caption AP

When he found out Shahzad had trained in North Waziristan, the home to the Taliban and other extremist groups, Rohde says he was disappointed.

"For years, other reporters as well as myself have been writing about North Waziristan," he tells Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies. "And we've seen attacks in Kabul linked back to North Waziristan. We've seen assassination attempts in Pakistan linked back to North Waziristan. We saw the killing of Benazir Bhutto. We saw the London subway bombings and now an attack in Times Square. And it's been eight years and the area continues to be a Taliban ministate."

Rohde covered Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2001 to 2008. While there, he saw radical groups training their followers and foreign extremists to make bombs. He shared a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rohde also won a Pulitzer in 1996, while he was a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, for his coverage of the massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.

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