Where in Pakistan did Faisal Shahzad learn bomb-making skills?
Jihadi training camps in Pakistan – like the one Times Square car bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad said he attended – have taught bombmaking and other skills to militants since the 1980s.
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For the entire lifetime of 30-year-old Shahzad, such camps would have been part of the topography of Pakistan.Skip to next paragraph
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Paramilitary forces cleared one camp that lies in Shahzad's ancestral home district of Nowshera in January, a little before Shahzad flew back to the US, says the leader of the operation, commandant Safwat Gayyur of the Frontier Constabulary. The camp lay in the Nizampur area, bordering the frontier region of Kohat. No one was captured in the raid.
Reuters cites an unnamed intelligence official in Pakistan as saying that Shahzad received training in that vicinity, near the garrison town of Kohat. Kohat lies about 50 miles southwest of the camp near Nizampur. Waziristan – where Shahzad claimed to train – lies at least another 50 miles further from Kohat.
Last year, Pakistan struck a truce with Mr. Bahadur's faction – which focuses on Afghanistan – before invading South Waziristan to fight the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), which focuses on targeting Pakistan. The TTP have claimed credit for the Times Square attack, but experts hesitate to jump to that conclusion given the group's desire for attention.
This camp, like many others, focused on weapons and explosives training along with basic physical workouts. Such a program does not require high-tech facilities, but simply needs to be located far enough from people to maintain a low profile. Surrounding ravines and gorges, along with some bunkers, afforded the Nizampur camp privacy.
It was, however, located in the same mountain range as a training facility for the elite military commandos of the Special Services Group.
Intelligence sources say the raid on the camp came after Nowshera District started to see attacks from mortars and improvised explosive devices, as well as kidnappings for ransom.
As the military pushed through South Waziristan late last year, reporters were able to see some of the camps left behind. Imtiaz Gul, a reporter and security expert in Islamabad, says he found numerous bombmaking manuals scattered around compounds that had been cleared just weeks before. Manuals contained detailed schematics for constructing bombs, as well as information about the impacts of blasts. They were written in Arabic, indicating they had come from Al Qaeda.
In March, the military uncovered a vast network of caves and tunnels in Bajaur. Many camps, however, are not so intricate and can be easily shifted. As camps are raided, fighters flee to other hideouts and resume training.