Sunday, May 9, 2010

AG Holder: Pakistani Taliban Behind Times Sqaure Plot

Via -

More firmly and publicly than before, senior officials of the Obama administration on Sunday blamed the failed attempt to blow up a bomb in Times Square on the Pakistani Taliban, an accusation that should increase pressure on the Pakistan military to attack the organization in its bastions in the lawless tribal region of North Waziristan.

“We’ve now developed evidence that shows the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in an interview on ABC television’s news program “This Week.”

Later, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said the Taliban in Pakistan “directed this plot” and may have also financed it. The Pakistani Taliban, he said, was “intimately involved” in the attempt on May 1 by Faisal Shahzad, an American citizen of Pakistani descent, to blow up gasoline and propane tanks secreted inside a Nissan Pathfinder parked on West 45th Street just yards from the heart of Times Square.

John Brennan, President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, echoed Mr. Holder’s statements Sunday morning, saying that it appeared that Mr. Shahzad, a resident of Bridgeport, Conn., who spent five months in Pakistan until February, was working for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. The TTP is believed by some military intelligence officials to have joined forces with Al Qaeda and may be hiding some of its senior leaders, including Osama bin Laden, who was the motivating force behind the 9/11 attack.

Until now, American officials have speculated that the Pakistan Taliban may have trained Mr. Shahzad during his visit to Pakistan, but Sunday’s statements were their most definitive about the Taliban’s role.

The conclusion that the Pakistani Taliban is behind the attempted bombing “underscores the serious threat that we face from a very determined enemy,” Mr. Brennan said on CNN’s ”State of the Union.”

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