New York bomb plot Taliban payback: Pakistani FM

The foiled New York car bomb attack could be retaliation for US drone attacks on Taliban, Qureshi warned.

Updated: May 06, 2010, 09:30 AM IST

Washington: The foiled New York car bomb attack blamed on a Pakistani-American could be retaliation for US drone attacks on the Taliban, Pakistan`s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi warned on Wednesday.

"This is retaliation. And you could expect that... let`s not be naive," Qureshi told CBS television.

"They`re not going to sort of sit and welcome you (to) sort of eliminate them. They`re going to fight back."

Suspect Faisal Shahzad, 30, has been charged with five counts of terrorism after he allegedly parked a car primed with a bomb in Times Square, the heart of New York`s theatre district, late Saturday.

He was arrested in a dramatic scene at John F Kennedy Airport just before midnight Monday when his Emirates Airline flight was preparing to take off for Dubai.

Although Shahzad has told US officials he was acting alone, according to the US criminal complaint he admitted "after his arrest that he had received bomb-making training in Waziristan, Pakistan”.

The alleged visit to the al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold in Pakistan`s semi-autonomous tribal belt on the Afghan border presumably occurred during a five-month trip the complaint says Shahzad made to Pakistan.

Waziristan is the powerbase of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has been the only militant group to claim Saturday`s attempted bomb attack, albeit in a move widely disputed in Pakistan and the United States.

Pakistan`s military said on Wednesday it had yet to establish a link between Shahzad, who became a US citizen last year, and the country`s main militant stronghold in Waziristan.

The United States has significantly increased drone strikes on North Waziristan this year, with more than 890 people have been killed in nearly 100 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008.

TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud appeared in two videos purportedly made last month in which he threatened to attack US cities.