Islamabad: Pakistan`s Army does not believe
the Pakistani Taliban were behind the Times Square bomb
attempt as the insurgent group has claimed, a military
spokesman said today.
Relatives and friends of the Pakistani-American
arrested in New York over the plot expressed surprise at his
alleged involvement, saying he came from a respected family in
a conservative part of the country and had previously shown no
signs of militancy.
Faisal Shahzad, who grew up in Pakistan but left for
America at the age of 18, is accused of trying to detonate a
car bomb in Times Square on Saturday evening. The 30-year-old,
who was arrested Monday night in New York, has allegedly told
investigators he received explosives training in Waziristan, a
stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban.
In a video message on Sunday, the Pakistani Taliban
said it carried out the attack, in what would be its first
known strike outside South Asia. US officials quickly doubted
the claim, but Shahzad`s arrest and alleged trip to Waziristan
have given it credence.
Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the military`s chief
spokesman, said the claim should be "taken with a pinch of
"Anybody can claim anything, but whether the
organisation has that kind of reach is questionable. I don`t
think they have the capacity to reach the next level," he
The attack may increase pressure on the Pakistani
army to launch a new offensive in the northern part of
Waziristan, something it has been avoiding until now. US and
European officials have long said that many of the terror
plots in the West are hatched in the region.
Abbas declined to comment on reports Shahzad had
been to Waziristan. Pakistan intelligence officials say they
have detained several people for questioning since Shahzad`s
arrest, but it is unclear if any are believed to have
involvement in the plot. One officer said today one of
detainees had been arrested from a mosque in Karachi, the
country`s largest city where Shahzad is believed to
have spent time on his most recent trip to Pakistan last year.
The detainee, who was not identified, has told
investigators he travelled to Peshawar, the main city in the
northwest, with Shahzad, said the officer, who asked not to be
identified because he was not authorised to speak to the