New York: Ahmad Khan Rahami , the suspect in this weekend`s bombings in and around New York, had made several trips to Pakistan in recent years, investigations have revealed.
Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalized US citizen who was born in Afghanistan, had grown a beard and started wearing traditional Muslim clothes after making several trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, CNN and other media reported.
It has also been revealed that Rahami got married to a Pakistani woman in 2011.
Rahami first came to the United States in 1995 as a child, after his father arrived seeking asylum, and became a naturalized US citizen in 2011.
Rahami travelled to Pakistan in April 2013 and returned in March of the following year, according to a federal official.
During his 2013 trip, he stayed in Quetta with family members who were refugees, the official said.
Rahami also travelled to Pakistan for three months in 2011, the official said, and again for several months in 2005 before returning in January 2006.
Flee Jones, a childhood friend, told news agency Reuters that Rahami travelled to Afghanistan several years ago.
The reason for the trip and its full impact on Rahami was not immediately known, but Jones said Rahami became more serious and quiet. Jones said he learned about the travel from one of Rahami`s brothers and last saw the suspect about two years ago.
"He was way more religious," Jones said, adding, "I never knew him as the kind of person who would do anything like this."
Jones said that as teenagers he and Rahami used to play basketball at a neighborhood park and spend time at the fried chicken restaurant the Rahami family owned. "He used to let us chill inside and let us have rap battles," he said.
A high school classmate, Hakeen Ezzouhairy, on Facebook described Rahami as a "class clown, very funny, nice guy." The post was later deleted.
Described as a "class clown" by a high school classmate, he studied criminal justice before dropping out of a community college. More recently, he became active in the Muslim community of his racially diverse hometown.
Rahami was not listed on US counterterrorism databases, three US officials told Reuters.
He was taken into custody on Monday after being wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police officers in Linden, just outside Elizabeth, a working-class city about 20 miles southwest of New York City with a large immigrant population.
Authorities suspect him of setting off a bomb that wounded 29 people in Manhattan on Saturday, as well as leaving a bag with five other devices in New Jersey on Sunday, one of which exploded without causing injury.
He is also a suspect in a bombing on Saturday at a New Jersey charity run that hurt no one. It was not clear whether Rahami had a lawyer yet.