US-born cleric inspired Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad
The influence of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki looms again as new evidence strengthens the notion that Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was inspired by a global extremist network stretching from Yemen to Pakistan.
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Investigators are not yet sure where that money came from. They are looking to question a courier who allegedly funneled money to Shahzad to pay for the SUV used in the attack, as well as the improvised explosives. But the source country remains unknown, the Associated Press reports.Skip to next paragraph
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Taliban deny involvement
The Pakistani Taliban deny responsibility. In an interview with The Christian Science Monitor, a Taliban spokesman denied knowledge of a video – purportedly put out by the group – claiming responsibility for the Times Square car bomb attempt, though he praised suspect Faisal Shahzad’s ‘noble job.’
While The New York Times on May 5 cited unnamed American officials saying it was "very likely" the Pakistani Taliban was involved, the Monitor on May 7 cited a former top official at the National Security Council questioning why, if the Pakistan Taliban is in fact training individuals like Mr. Shahzad, the bombing wasn’t successful.
“I still think it’s odd that he wasn’t well-trained by a group that is very good at blowing things up and killing people,” Juan Zarate, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, told the Monitor. “The level of direction is still in question here.”
But as the evidence mounts for some type of involvement between Shahzad and Pakistani militants, the pressure on Islamabad is building to move against known militant enclaves in North Waziristan. It is there that Shahzad allegedly received his bomb training. But it is there that the Pakistan army has so far vowed not to go.
Pushing Pakistan’s army won’t be easy. And it could backfire if they are pushed to rush in too quickly, warns an editorial in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper:
Our troops are overstretched as it is and not yet ready for an operation of that magnitude. It probably will come eventually but rushing into the theatre of battle without adequate planning and logistical back-up will not serve the desired purpose.
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