Pak nabs Times Square bomber’s local TTP facilitator

Pakistani security agencies have arrested a man having links with TTP, who claims that he assisted Faisal Shahzad.

Updated: May 14, 2010, 13:44 PM IST

Washington: Pakistani security agencies have arrested a man having links with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who claims that he assisted Faisal Shahzad, the confessed Times Square bomber, US officials have said.

“The suspect in Pakistani custody is believed to have a connection to the TTP. Clues have added to authorities` understanding of the plot, but what is definitely true is that a lot of this comes from the statements of people directly involved,” The Washington Post quoted a US intelligence official, who refused to be named, as saying.

US officials declined to identify the suspect, but said American investigators have direct access to him, and described him as a facilitator for the TTP.

Officials privy to the probe said the suspect, during interrogation, described the whole story about the Shahzad’s arrival in Karachi last year and his travel north to Waziristan for training with elements of the Pakistani Taliban.

However, some other US official, briefed on the investigations said there are some “conflicts and disconnects” in the accounts of Shahzad and the man in custody.

The discrepancies centre mainly on the details and chronology of Shahzad`s travel and training. The conflicts have raised some questions about the reliability of the suspects` information, but have not cast significant doubt on the overall understanding of the plot, they said.

American officials also believe that Shahzad and the man arrested have presented an exaggerated account of their terror tale.

Both the suspects claim to have met TTP chieftain Baitullah Mehsud, who was believed to have been killed in a US drone attack, however, US officials are sceptical that Mehsud would risk a ‘face-to-face’ meeting with a new recruit, that too of foreign origin.

Meanwhile, Pakistani officials have also claimed to have detained five persons from a mosque in Karachi who are said to be members of the banned extremist outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM). Officials believe that Shahzad is believed to have visited the mosque during his long stay in Pakistan earlier this year.