Islamabad: A Pakistani Army Major has been arrested for having links with Faisal Shahzad, the man behind the botched attempt to bomb Times Square in New York City early this month, a media report said Wednesday.
The Major`s involvement with Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to fly to Dubai, remains unclear, but authorities say the two met in Islamabad and were in regular contact.
According to Pakistani law enforcement sources, the Major met Shahzad, a naturalised US citizen of Pakistani descent, in Islamabad and was in contact with him on cellphone, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Major`s arrest marks the first time someone in Pakistan`s military has been directly linked to the case.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not say when the alleged meeting and phone calls between Shahzad and the major took place, or what was discussed.
The twist in the case comes as Pakistani authorities have learned more about the 30-year-old Shahzad`s links with the Pakistani Taliban, the militant group suspected of helping him carry out the attempted bombing, the daily said.
Another suspect being held by Pakistani authorities is a Pakistani Taliban member who appeared to play the role of liaison between Shahzad and the militant group.
The Taliban member has told Pakistani intelligence agents that he met Shahzad three times last summer, Pakistani law enforcement sources said.
According to US officials familiar with the case, the Taliban gave Shahzad roughly USD 15,000 to pay for the attempted bombing, the report said.
Shahzad, who appeared Tuesday in court in New York, has told US investigators that he went to North Waziristan, where he met with Taliban leaders and got training in bomb making.
Pakistani investigators and US officials say they believe Shahzad went to Mohmand, another region within Pakistan`s tribal belt along the Afghan border.