Times Square car bomb: Pakistan holds family of alleged attacker

Pakistani officials have detained members of Faisal Shahzad's family In the wake of what they say was Shahzad's failed attempt to detonate a Times Square car bomb. Intelligence officials in Pakistan say the suspect recently spent about four months in Peshawar, a city on the Afghanistan border close to militant training camps.

In this photo from the social networking site Orkut.com, a man who was identified by neighbors in Connecticut as Faisal Shahzad. Mr. Shahzad was arrested at a New York airport Monday as a part of the Times Square bomber investigation.

Pakistani intelligence officials said that the wife and parents of the man arrested in New York Monday for allegedly trying to detonate a Times Square car bomb have been residing in Karachi, the country's commercial capital.

Officials who requested anonymity at Pakistan's Intelligence Bureau and Federal Investigation Authority said that Faisal Shahzad spent four to five months recently in or around Peshawar, a frontier city bordering the mountain hideouts and training camps of militant groups.

Mr. Shahzad's mother and some additional family members have been taken into protective custody, according to a separate Pakistani intelligence official. The family's Karachi home lies in the tough, lower-middle class neighborhood of North Nazimabad.

Mr. Shahzad lived in Shelton, Conn. with his family until they lost their house to foreclosure last year, according to media interviews with former neighbors. Dawn Television in Pakistan says the family flew from the US to Karachi in July 2009.

At some point, Shahzad returned to the US. According to US officials, he recently purchased a used SUV, filled it with fertilizer, gasoline, and firecrackers, and drove it to Times Square before fleeing the scene. FBI agents pulled Shahzad and two others off a plane at New York's Kennedy Airport late Monday as it readied to take off for Dubai.

US Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that Shahzad had admitted to his role in the failed attack, and would face charges of terrorism and possessing weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Holder added that Shahzad had provided "valuable information" to authorities, and stated that the US "will not rest until we have brought everyone responsible to justice," a reference that was taken to mean the US was pursuing additional suspects.

Shielded from the media?

In the past, Pakistani officials have been suspected of spiriting away relatives of alleged terrorists in order to shield information from the media.

In the case of Ajmal Kassab, the lone-surviving gunman in the Nov.11, 2008, attacks on Mumbai, authorities initially denied that Mr. Kassab lived in Pakistan. His parents, who were living in the Pakistani town of Faridkot, disappeared after his name was made public.

"US authorities have not sought Pakistani intelligence or law enforcement support in investigations relating to the foiled Times Square bombing case yet. If support is sought, Pakistan will extend full cooperation as it has consistently done in recent years," said Farahnaz Ispahani, a spokesperson for the Pakistani president.

Nadeem Haider Kiani, spokesman at the Pakistani embassy in Washington, said that it was too early to know what the bomber's motivations were, and, when asked about possible ties to foreign terrorist groups, said that early information suggested that the bomber was a "disturbed individual."

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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