Times Square bomb: Did Pakistan Taliban send its 'C' team?
If Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the Times Square bomb case, trained with the Pakistan Taliban, as US officials say, why was his bomb so poorly built?
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“This is a group that is closely allied with Al Qaeda … it is dedicated to the same type of agenda that Al Qaeda has, which is a murderous one,” said Deputy National Security Adviser for Counterterrorism John Brennan on CNN.Skip to next paragraph
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The Taliban’s main training manual appears to be the 158-page “Military Teachings for the Preparation of Mujahidin”, which is posted on jihadist web sites.
“The detailed manual contains information and diagrams of various small-arms, ammunition, light and heavy weaponry, communication tools, and chemical and explosives formulas,” noted a September, 2008 analysis of the manual in CTC Sentinel, a publication of the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York.
The manual’s chapter nine provides “details on primary, secondary and compound explosives”, wrote Pakistani terror expert Imtiaz Ali in the CTC Sentinel.
In addition, it outlines the exact chemical make-up for homemade bomb, down to the required amounts of specific chemical agents. A subsequent chapter provides instructions on proper handling of volatile substances.
Did Faisal Shahzad not learn from this manual – which is widely distributed in the region, and available on jihadist web sites? Was he not able to recreate its teachings? The apparent disconnect between his training and his performance is something of a mystery.
Bomb making might not have been the only area in which Shahzad fell short, after all. Reportedly, he also left the keys to his apartment in the SUV that he was trying to blow up in Times Square.
Constant pressure from drone attacks in Pakistan, combined with heightened awareness in the US and Western Europe, may be driving Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other loosely linked Islamist groups which wish to strike outside the Middle East to relying on numerous individuals as opposed to better-planned conspiracies, according to Mr. Martel of the Fletcher School.
“It’s possible this means there is much less effective quality control on the organization and training of terrorist attacks,” he says.
- Educated and radical: Why Pakistan produces Faisal Shahzads
- Faisal Shahzad, Times Square bomb suspect, made now-familiar trek to Pakistan
- Where in Pakistan did Faisal Shahzad learn bomb-making skills?