Shahzad cooperating with authorities

U.S. officials say indications of the Pakistani Taliban’s role in the failed New York car bombing are growing as they question the main suspect in the incident.

Faisal Shahzad, 30, arrested Monday just prior to his Emirates flight to Dubai was to take off from New York, Wednesday waived his right to a speedy arraignment, which The New York Times said was an indication of his cooperation with authorities.

A senior official in the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama told the Times there are “no smoking guns yet” about the Taliban’s involvement, but others spoke of strong indications that Shahzad knew some Taliban members who may have helped train him.

The Connecticut resident is originally from Pakistan and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Pakistani media reports have said he is the son of a retired air vice marshal and that he and his wife have two children.

U.S. officials told the Times Shahzad’s interrogation has provided evidence the Pakistani Taliban trained him months prior to Saturday’s attempted attack at New York’s Times Square.

The officials say Shahzad also reportedly discussed his contacts with the Taliban, a group that this week sought to show through videos its leader Hakimullah Mehsud was not killed as originally believed in a U.S. drone strike in January. Mehsud’s group claimed responsibility for the Times Square incident.

One question that remains unanswered is the source of the cash Shahzad used to buy the SUV used in the attempted bombing and the ticket for his flight to Dubai.

“Somebody’s financially sponsoring him, and that’s the link we’re pursuing,” one official told the Times. “And that would take you on the logic train back to Pak-Taliban authorizations.”

Besides the Taliban, Pakistan’s lawless tribal regions are seen by U.S. officials as a haven for a hodge-podge of terror groups including al-Qaida, who use their hideouts to launch attacks on U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan as well as in other countries.

A successful attack on U.S. soil would be seen as a big victory in the jihadist world. Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, told the Times. It would deliver a message that the United States “is pounding us with drone attacks, but we’re powerful enough to strike back.” He said such a message would be “certainly enough to attract ever more recruits to replace those they’re losing.”


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