Computer programmer among three arrested in Times Square probe

A computer programmer, who knew Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad, is among the three Pakistani men arrested during investigations into the failed plot.

Updated: May 15, 2010, 16:45 PM IST

New York: A computer programmer, who knew
Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad, is among the
three Pakistani men arrested during investigations into the
failed plot.

The three men were picked up on Thursday in a series
of raids in the Boston suburbs, on New York`s Long Island and
in New Jersey, as the FBI followed the money trail in the
failed attack.

While Mohammad Shafiq Rahman was a computer
programmer, the other two were a gas station attendant and a
cab driver respectively.

They are suspected of funneling money to Pakistani-
American Faisal Shahzad, who left a car packed with explosives
in the middle of the popular tourist site on May 1.

It is still not clear, however, whether the funds were
given to carry out the terrorist act or whether those arrested
knew their money was being channelled into a terror act.

The New York Times reported that computer programmer
Rahman told his employer days earlier that he knew Shahzad but
had not seen him in nearly a decade.

"It`s hard. As a matter of fact I happen to know the
guy accused of being the bomber in Times Square. I haven`t
seen him for eight or nine years, but back then he was a
pretty simple person, had no dogma, no theory, just went with
the flow," Rahman had told his boss, as quoted by NYT.

"So it`s hard for me to understand this, but maybe
that`s what they look for, what terrorist organisations look
for," he added.

The connection with the other two men, Pir Khan, 43,
who until recently drove a cab in the Boston area, and Aftab
Khan, who was in his 20`s and worked in a gas station in
Brookline, and Shahzad were unclear, the daily said.

Shahzad, 30, was arrested two days after his attempt
while trying to escape to Dubai on an Emirates flight. He was
apprehended at the John F Kennedy airport and has been charged
with terror-related offence.

Last week, US Attorney General Eric Holder had
declared that the investigation implicates the Pakistani
Taliban in the foiled terror attack.

After claiming responsibility for the attack
initially, the Pakistan-Taliban had said that they were not
involved in this particular terror attempt but had sent
suicide bombers to the US to carry out suicide attacks.

Media reports also suggest two men, suspected of being
Shahzad`s accomplices, have been arrested in Pakistan.

Shahzad worked as a financial analyst and live in
Connecticut with his wife. But his personal and professional
life came under strain last year during the financial crisis.

Having waived his arraignments rights, Shahzad is
cooperating with the authorities.

PTI