Faisal Shahzad, Times Square bomb suspect, made now-familiar trek to Pakistan
Faisal Shahzad, arrested Tuesday as a Times Square car bomb suspect just before he left the country, had recently visited Pakistan. Several Americans showing interest in militant Islam or attacking America have journeyed there before.
(Page 2 of 2)
The former have not proven especially effective. Mr. Zazi lost his nerve before carrying out a plan to bomb New York targets. The five Americans from D.C. allegedly failed to even reach the Pakistan militant organizations before being caught by Pakistani police.Skip to next paragraph
Gallery American Jihadis
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
There are conflicting theories on the amateur nature of these attacks. One possibility, argues Mr. Gul, is that the terror groups inside Pakistan have been shorn of capability.
Last November, Gul found numerous Arabic-language bombmaking manuals scattered in former militant hideouts cleared by the Pakistani military in South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold bordering Afghanistan. That says to him that the expertise for that lay mainly with the small number of Arabs, rather than the Pakistani domestic groups. A few Al Qaeda bombmaking experts have been killed over the past year in Pakistan, he notes.
The loss of sanctuaries in parts of the tribal belt due to military offensives may be squeezing the space groups have for training people together in one place, says Gul.
Others say that, despite the mistake-laden attempt in New York, larger dangers could loom. “It could be that these are amateurs who are emotionally moved to act. At the same time, this could be a distraction for something more organized, which is what I worry about,” says Ahmed Rashid, author of “Taliban.”
He shares Gul’s sense that beyond any desire to get training or establish a postattack refuge, would-be jihadis trek to Pakistan to get fired up.
“This is where you meet the leaders and get inspired and all the rest of it. This is the hub. This is where you want to be to be part of a movement.”
- Five Americans arrested in Pakistan: Are more US citizens joining jihad?
- Pakistan Taliban claims Times Square bomb, threatens more. How credible?
- Pakistan news coverage
- Taliban news coverage
- Five Americans arrested in Pakistan plead not guilty to terrorism charges