NY Times Square bomb attempt

bhramos

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yeah RK, if US start drone operation in POK it will favorable to India.
but does US has any guts to do this operation?
as its hands already burning in Iraq and Afpak.
 

nitesh

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Pakistan army is thae baap of all jehadis and the headquarter of all jehadi group is GHQ pindi.Every terror attack have PA footprints including 9/11.
hmm on e more interesting fact:

http://news.in.msn.com/international/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3922311

Ottawa/Islamabad: In the latest and sensational twist to the botched Times Square bombing plot, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander has claimed that Faisal Shahzad, the confessed bomb plotter of Pakistani origin, had received terror training in one of the 'jihad' camps of the banned outfit in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). A report in Maclean, Canada's weekly current affairs magazine, cited an unnamed LeT commander as saying that Shahzad, during his visit to Pakistan in 2006, had visited the LeT's main base of operations in Dulai, a village situated 25 kilometres away from Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK.

"He was an eager recruit. Very intelligent but also very intense, and driven to make his mark for the sake of Islam,"
the magazine quoted the LeT commander, as describing Shahzad.
.....................................................

Recalling Shahzad's attitude during his terror training, the LeT commander said one thing which was most noticeable in him was that he had a strong desire for glory.

"He wanted to do something big, not just die an anonymous martyr alongside hundreds of other martyrs. He wanted something international. He wanted to be famous. For us, that was dangerous. We don't want attention brought to us, and we were worried that Shahzad's personal agenda would get him captured and bring the spotlight on us," the commander said.
 

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'LeT trained Times Square bomber in PoK'

Ottawa/Islamabad: In the latest and sensational twist to the botched Times Square bombing plot, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander has claimed that Faisal Shahzad, the confessed bomb plotter of Pakistani origin, had received terror training in one of the 'jihad' camps of the banned outfit in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

A report in Maclean, Canada's weekly current affairs magazine, cited an unnamed LeT commander as saying that Shahzad, during his visit to Pakistan in 2006, had visited the LeT's main base of operations in Dulai, a village situated 25 kilometres away from Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK.

"He was an eager recruit. Very intelligent but also very intense, and driven to make his mark for the sake of Islam," the magazine quoted the LeT commander, as describing Shahzad.

The LeT commander, however, denied any direct involvement of his organisation with New York bombing plot. "Shahzad came to us for training. He stayed with us for three months and we provided him with the basics. Then he went back to the U.S," the commander claimed.

The terror commander added that following the training, Shazad was asked to return back to the US and directed not to contact the LeT, which carried out the ghastly Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, for at least six months.

"After six months, we tried to contact him, but we received no response, not from emails or by telephone. We thought, well, okay, so maybe he's had a change of heart. We have thousands of recruits who come to us for training. It doesn't affect us if one of them is lost,' the magazine quoted the militant leader, as saying.

Recalling Shahzad's attitude during his terror training, the LeT commander said one thing which was most noticeable in him was that he had a strong desire for glory.

"He wanted to do something big, not just die an anonymous martyr alongside hundreds of other martyrs. He wanted something international. He wanted to be famous. For us, that was dangerous. We don't want attention brought to us, and we were worried that Shahzad's personal agenda would get him captured and bring the spotlight on us," the commander said.

Pakistan Army major held for links with Times Square bomber

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 $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.

Source: Agencies
 

Rebelkid

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US got guts to do lot of things... They never want a unified Iraq as a unified Iraq will throw them out and ask their oil.. Don't trust them when they say they are stretched too thin
 

bhramos

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hi RK, US got its Guts,
but people say it cant fight a new war like iran.
but will it not able to do POK war by using drones?
 

mehwish92

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simply hand over pok to us :) we'll take care of those ba**ards.
 

Armand2REP

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Ottawa/Islamabad: In the latest and sensational twist to the botched Times Square bombing plot, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander has claimed that Faisal Shahzad, the confessed bomb plotter of Pakistani origin, had received terror training in one of the 'jihad' camps of the banned outfit in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Suprised they would even admit to such a retard. That is like Harvard sending out a press release... GW Bush is our progeny, we are so proud.
 

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Six more detained in Pak for NY bomb plot

Pakistani authorities have taken into custody another six persons on suspicion of having links to Pakistani-American terror suspect Faisal Shahzad, arrested in the US for the botched Times Square car bombing.

The six were detained in different cities across the country, Geo News channel reported on Friday, quoting unnamed sources. The detained persons are being probed by law enforcement agencies, the channel said, without giving details.

The Pakistan government has decided to conduct a probe against persons detained within the country in connection with the attempted bombing in New York. The findings of the probe will be shared with the US, the report said.

Earlier this month also, a top police official in Punjab province had said that at least seven suspects were detained in Lahore [ Images ], Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Karachi for alleged links to Shahzad. He had said that they were shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation. US authorities have said that Shahzad, son of a retired senior officer of the Pakistan Air Force, received bomb-making training in the Waziristan tribal region.
 

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Your Children Could be Terrorists


NEW YORK – In the wake of the Times Square bomb case, the feds just issued a chilling warning to Pakistani leaders: check your family and staff for terrorist ties. Philip Shenon reports.
The United States has warned civilian and military leaders in Pakistan that they need to worry about a newly uncovered breeding ground for anti-American terrorists—their own families.

A senior federal law enforcement official tells The Daily Beast that the Obama administration has sent a "clear, if carefully worded warning" to Pakistani leaders in recent days that their own children and others relatives, as well as their subordinates in the government, should be scrutinized for possible terrorist ties.
"We've got elements of the Pakistani gentry—people who can get in and out of the United States with ease, if they're not already citizens here—who are getting roped into terrorism," says an American diplomatic official.
The official, who has been briefed on details of the Times Square bombing case, says Pakistanis have also been told that the United States is concerned by the large number of connections between Pakistani military officers and some of the recently uncovered terrorist plots aimed at the United States and its European allies.
"¢ Bruce Riedel: Osama's Top Gun Is Back The warning comes in the wake of the discovery that the son of a retired Pakistani air marshal was the culprit in the attempted terrorist bombing in Times Square last month, as well as the guilty plea in March by a Pakistani-American man in Chicago who has connections throughout the Pakistan government—including a half-brother who is the prime minister's chief spokesman.
The Chicago man, David Headley, attended one of Pakistan's most elite military academies and had, at least until his arrest, maintained friendships throughout the Pakistani military. A retired Pakistani army colonel who remains at large has also been indicted in the Chicago case.
"With these two cases, you really see what we're up against,"
said an American diplomatic official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the terrorism cases publicly. "We've got elements of the Pakistani gentry—people who can get in and out of the United States with ease, if they're not already citizens here—who are getting roped into terrorism."
As a result of the failed Times Square bombing, the United States has publicly warned Pakistan of severe diplomatic repercussions if Pakistani terrorists attempt to strike again on American soil. Officials say the warnings were delivered as recently as this week, when National Security Adviser James Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta traveled to Pakistan to meet with their counterparts there.
Even as the United States has described Pakistan as a key ally in the fight against Muslim extremism and terrorism, Washington has also long signaled its wariness of the intentions of large elements of the Pakistani military and the country's intelligence agencies. The recent terrorism cases have increased tensions between the two countries—and this latest warning from the United States could further complicate relations.
Teresita Schaffer, a retired American diplomat who served in Pakistan, tells The Daily Beast that while it was too soon to suggest that family members of the Pakistan military elite and its civilian gentry pose a special risk of recruitment as terrorists, she could understand why it was of concern to the Obama administration. "It's something to watch," she said.
"There certainly are people in the Army and the intelligence service who have some pretty extreme views" in support of Muslim fundamentalism, said Schaffer, who now directs the South Asia program for the Center for Strategic and International Affairs in Washington.
The Pakistani-born man who is reported to have confessed to the failed Times Square attack, Faisal Shahzad, 30 years old and a naturalized American citizen, is the son of a retired Pakistani vice air marshal, Bahar ul-Haq.
The father, who is reported to have gone into hiding since his son's arrest, was one of Pakistan's most accomplished pilots and flight instructors; he was stationed overseas in Britain and Saudi Arabia. Several other family members have served in the small, close-knit Pakistani Air Force.
American officials say they are aware of—but have been so far unable to confirm—reports that a Pakistani army major was arrested this week in Pakistan for involvement in the Times Square plot, and that the officer may have been a go-between for Faisal and the Pakistani Taliban. (Shahzad, who is cooperating with authorities, has yet to enter a formal plea).
In the Chicago case, Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani to make it easier to cross borders as a terrorist, has confessed to involvement both in the 2008 terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai and in a foiled plot to attack a Danish newspaper that had ran cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. In the Mumbai rampage, nearly 170 people were killed, including six Americans.
His ties to the Pakistan elite are deep. His father is a retired Pakistani diplomat who is reported to have served at the Pakistani embassy in Washington. He attended a Pakistani military academy, the Hasan Abdal Cadet College, where he mixed with young men who would later go on to the run key elements of the Pakistani military and the civilian government, including the diplomatic corps.
Another man indicted in the case, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian who ran a visa company in Chicago with Headley, also attended the military academy. Rana, who is awaiting trial, has insisted that he is innocent of the terrorism charges.
Philip Shenon, a former investigative reporter at The New York Times, is the author of The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation.
Get a head start with the Morning Scoop email. It's your Cheat Sheet with must reads from across the Web. Get it.
 

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Alleged Shahzad Accomplice Had His Phone Number


(AP) Updated at 4:43 p.m. ET

A Pakistani man arrested in Massachusetts during the investigation into the failed Times Square bombing had the primary suspect's phone number and first name in his cell phone and written on an envelope, a government attorney said Thursday.

Special Section: Terrorism in the U.S.

Aftab Khan, a gas station attendant, had the items in his belongings in his Watertown, Mass., apartment, said Richard Neville, deputy chief counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston.

Neville revealed the information in court Thursday as he tried to persuade a U.S. immigration judge to keep Khan in the United States.

Khan was one of three Pakistani men arrested on immigration violations last week as federal agents followed the money trail in their investigation into Faisal Shahzad, who is accused of trying - and failing - to set off a car bomb in Times Square on May 1.

Khan's cell phone had in its memory Shahzad's phone number and first name, Neville said. The envelope also had Shahzad's first name and phone number on it, he said.

Defense attorney Saher Macarius said earlier Thursday that Khan had never heard of Shahzad before his arrest.

Macarius said he believes Khan and a cab driver, Pir Khan, were targeted because, several days before the failed May 1 car bomb attempt, they each booked flights from New York to Pakistan using the same route that Shahzad was planning to fly on the day he was arrested.

Shahzad was taken into custody on a Dubai-bound plane from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Pir Khan and Aftab Khan had booked flights from JFK, with a stop in Dubai, for June 6, Macarius said.

"Both of them are leaving and going together to Pakistan," Macarius said of the Khans. "Of course, because the aircraft is going through Dubai, now people think they are following the footsteps of the Times Square bomber."

Neville also said at Thursday's immigration hearing that Khan had moved his June 6 flight to Pakistan to May 13, the day he was arrested.

The Khans lived together in Watertown and were arrested last week. Friends have said the two are distantly related.

On Tuesday, an immigration judge ordered Pir Kahn held without bail. A third man, Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, was arrested in Maine.

All three men are being held on immigration charges and have not been charged criminally.

Federal authorities have said previously that they believe the three men funneled money to Shahzad through an informal money transfer network, but may not have known how the funds would be used.

Macarius said Aftab Khan worked as a civilian employee on a U.S. Army base in Kuwait for several years before coming to the United States in August. He said Khan worked for a company that brought food and supplies to the base.

Macarius said Khan met an American soldier on the base who agreed to marry him. He said Khan was issued a visa to travel to Colorado for their wedding, but when he arrived, the woman broke off their engagement. Khan married a teacher in Cambridge in November, Macarius said. Authorities have said he was arrested because of an expired visa.
 

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Embassy Caterer Arrested in Times Sq. Bombing


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The owner of an elite catering company that organized events for American diplomats here has been detained by the Pakistani authorities on suspicion that he helped the Pakistani-American being held for the failed Times Square bombing, a Western official said Friday. The United States Embassy, in a message sent by e-mail and posted on its Web site, warned American residents in Pakistan to avoid using the company, Hanif Rajput Caterers, because "terrorist groups may have established links" to it.

The detained caterer, Salman Ashraf Kahn, 36, "disappeared" on May 10, when he failed to arrive at the company headquarters after leaving his house in his car, his father, Rana Ashraf Khan, the chief executive of the company, said in an interview in Islamabad.

An official of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence, which is in charge of the Pakistani investigation into the Times Square bombing, said he was not aware of Salman Ashraf Khan's arrest.

But the official said that several men had been arrested Islamabad in connection with the Times Square bombing.

Mr. Khan and a close friend and business associate, Ahmed Raza Khan, were detained the same day, the father of Mr. Khan said.

The arrests in Islamabad appeared to focus on Pakistani men who were part of an informal network that helped recruit Pakistanis living abroad who wanted to come back to train for terrorist attacks, another Western official said.

The men, like Faisal Shahzad, were middle class and some, like him, had experience in the West, one of the officials said.

They appeared to be motivated by a belief in jihadist causes and a hatred of the West, the official said. It was not clear who was the leading figure in the network, or the network's precise links to militant groups, the official said.

Salman Ashraf Khan graduated from the University of Houston in 2000 in computer science, and then returned to Pakistan to work in the family catering business, the elder Mr. Khan said. He had not returned to the United States since his graduation and married three years ago, the father said.

He described his son as "religious" but "definitely not an extremist." Asked if his son had negative feelings toward the United States, he said: "To be honest, yes. But that is common."

"I am shocked," he said of the allegation that his son was connected to the Times Square bombing, saying the son had organized 900 catering events in the last six months, some for as many as 2000 guests. His son and wife lived with him in the family home in a comfortable section of Islamabad, the father said.

Mr. Khan left the home for work at his usual time, about 11 a.m., on May 10, the father said. He was driving his car, but never reached the office, according to the account. At about noon, a man turned up outside the family home in Mr. Khan's car, parked it, and then left in a waiting taxi, the father said.

A dinner for 20 people, booked by a senior American diplomat for Saturday night, was suddenly canceled by the United States Embassy today, said Fahim Khan, the company's sales manager. Until several years ago, when security at the embassy was tightened, the company catered the annual ball for the United States Marines, he said.

The notice circulated by the American Embassy came two days after the National Security Adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta, came to Islamabad to share leads with the Pakistani government on the investigation into the failed Times Square bombing.

The elder Mr. Khan, who founded the catering company, said that despite frequent requests for information about his son since his disappearance on May 10, the Pakistani authorities had refused to disclose his son's whereabouts.
 

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Pakistan official: Caterer, others held for ties to Times Square bomb plot


ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN -- Pakistani authorities have detained the co-owner of an upscale catering company in the capital and at least four other men in connection with the Times Square bomb plot, a Pakistani intelligence official said Friday.

The U.S. Embassy issued a warning to Americans in Pakistan about Hanif Rajput Catering Service, saying that "terrorist groups may have established links" to it. The unusual alert said the company was owned by a father and son, but it did not elaborate on its alleged ties to militants.

A Pakistani intelligence source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the son, Salman Ashraf Khan, 35, was arrested about 10 days ago on suspicion of links to Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani American accused of the attempted bombing in New York. Four or five other people were also arrested in Islamabad, including at least one who was a close friend of Khan, the official said.

Hanif Rajput has catered elite events in the capital, including U.S. Embassy functions.

Reached briefly by telephone early Saturday, Rana Ashraf Khan, Khan's father, said his son went missing on the morning of May 10 after leaving his home for work. Rana Ashraf Khan said that he had heard nothing from his son since and that authorities had given him no information.

"My son loves his religion, but he has nothing to do with terrorism," he said. "Salman is not an extremist, but a normal person."

According to the caterer's Web site, Khan completed studies in Houston in 2001, then worked his way up in the family business to become vice president. It said he had "breathed new fire" into the firm's outdoor catering services. Among the others arrested were an employee of Telenor, a cellphone company, and a man who is involved in a computer business in Islamabad, the intelligence official said.

The U.S. warning said American government personnel had been instructed to avoid patronizing the caterer. U.S. officials had relayed information about the caterer's suspected terrorism links to Pakistani authorities "for their action," the alert said.

U.S. officials have said the failed Times Square bombing was supported by the Pakistani Taliban, an amorphous militant group based in Pakistan's lawless frontier areas. Shahzad has told U.S. investigators that he received bombmaking training in the rugged region.

National security adviser James L. Jones and CIA chief Leon Panetta visited Islamabad this week to discuss the case with Pakistani authorities.

Pakistani media have reported several detentions in connection with the case, but the government has not officially acknowledged any arrests, and authorities say they are still investigating Shahzad's links to Pakistan-based terrorist groups.

In a statement issued Friday, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the "soil of Pakistan" would not be used "for acts of terrorism anywhere in the world."
 

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US warns of terror link to Pakistan catering firm


ISLAMABAD: The US Embassy warned Friday that terrorist groups may have ''established links'' to a high-class catering company in Pakistan that a security official said is owned by a suspect arrested over the failed car bombing in Times Square.

In an unusual e-mail message to US residents in Pakistan, the embassy said U.S. government personnel had been instructed to avoid using the Hanif Rajput Catering Service, a well-known firm often used by foreign embassies in Islamabad.

The US embassy said the suspicions about the catering company have been shared with Pakistan government agencies.

The message said Rajput was owned Rana Ashraf Khan and his son Salman Ashraf.

Earlier this week, a senior security official said that one of at least two people arrested in Pakistan over links to a Pakistani-American detained in connection with the failed Times Square car bombing was called Salman Ashraf. He identified him as the son of the owner of Rajput catering service.

The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.

A man who answered the phone at Rajput declined to comment on the allegations made by the US embassy.

A biography on the Rajput website said Salman Ashraf Khan studied in Houston, Texas, before returning home to help run the family business. It said Rana Ashraf Khan worked for Pakistan International Airlines for 20 years and then started the catering firm.

Rajput cooks for large parties, providing food, cutlery and grand tents at embassy compounds and the homes of the well-to-do in Islamabad and other cities. — AP
 

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Pakistanis arrest man in connection with Times Square case

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani authorities have arrested the son of a prominent catering company owner in connection with the attempted Times Square bombing case, U.S. and Pakistani officials said Friday.

Salman Ashraf was taken into custody a few days ago, the officials said.

His father, Rana Ashraf Khan, who owns Hanif Rajput Catering, said that he was shocked by the news of the arrest and that his son had been missing for the past 12 days.

Salman Ashraf had been talking to the Taliban about fingering Pakistani military and other VIPs at diplomatic and other government events, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the case.

Another U.S. official said there were indications that the company was going to be used as a cover for an attack in Pakistan.

There is "very specific information about a potential, imminent, plot," the official said. "Initial indications are it is a Pakistani target."

The information about Hanif Rajput Catering surfaced as a result of the Times Square investigation, the official said. Investigators are looking into whether the company has ties to the Pakistani Taliban.

The U.S. Embassy warned American citizens that terrorist groups might have set up ties with the Islamabad caterer, one of Pakistan's largest, and advised them to avoid using the company.

Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani-American, faces five counts in connection with the botched bomb attempt in New York's Times Square on May 1. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

He also pondered attacks on Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal and the World Financial Center in New York City; and Connecticut helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky, going so far as to case some of the targets, according to a senior counterterrorism official with oversight of the investigation.

Shahzad's arrest heightened concerns about the Pakistani Taliban, which authorities believe directed the Times Square plot. U.S. intelligence officials fear that the Taliban is actively plotting to strike within the United States and target American interests overseas.

The concerns about the group are coming from multiple streams of information, including from Shahzad, the officials said.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/05/21/pakistan.times.square.arrest/index.html?hpt=T2
 

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Times Square bombing suspect's story parallels Pakistani novels


KARACHI, Pakistan — Americans who are searching for an explanation for the attempted bombing of New York's Times Square this month should pick up two recent and critically acclaimed novels by Pakistani authors, which tell how the events that followed 9-11 made Pakistani New Yorkers feel alienated and angry.
Mirroring reports about the real-life case of Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad , the Times Square suspect, Mohsin Hamid's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" and H.M. Naqvi's "Home Boy" are set in New York and feature Pakistanis who work in the financial industry and are psychologically damaged by the aftermath of 9-11. The fictional characters rediscover their Islamic identities.
The heroes of the books were integrated, happy immigrants who found that New York and the U.S. turned ugly after 9-11, which led to their inner journeys away from the America they'd come to love.
The books were published in the U.S. — Hamid's by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2007 and Naqvi's last year by the Shaye Areheart imprint of Crown Books — and aimed primarily at a Western audience. They're part of a wave of Pakistani fiction in English that's stirred the literary world. "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" was a finalist for the 2007 Man Booker Prize, Britain's top literary award.
White House officials have been quick to trace the bungled Times Square bombing to militant Islamist groups in Pakistan , but U.S. investigators and the public are still trying to understand the story of the real Faisal Shahzad : a young man from a privileged background in Pakistan who arrived in the U.S. at 19, got a college degree and a good job, got married, had children, took a mortgage on a house in the suburbs and became an American citizen.
His tale, which culminates with him being accused at age 30 of attempting to commit mass murder on the streets of New York , could be straight out of fiction, complete with a secret life that he seemed to live in his head, and an alleged terrorist plot carried out ineptly.
Shahzad appears to have lurched from pursuing the American dream in a Connecticut suburb to anger at the George W. Bush administration's foreign policy and a rediscovery of his Muslim faith. His story climaxes with the bungled attempt to detonate a car in the center of New York and his equally hapless effort to then fly to Dubai .
Naqvi's fictional protagonist is called Shehzad, though it's his first name, and he, too, spends time in Connecticut and New York . Like the real-life Shahzad, he loses his job in the finance industry and has money troubles.
Wrongly accused of plotting terrorism and subjected to a rough interrogation after 9-11, the fictional Shehzad finds that "everything's changed for the worse," with xenophobic American patriotism taking over New York . Disillusioned, he leaves for Pakistan .
" My Shehzad could have mulled the same course of action" that Shahzad is accused of. "At that juncture, things are tenuous," said Naqvi, who wrote the book while he was living in the U.S. "But every unemployed Muslim man in the United States doesn't mull acts of terrorism. . . . I was unemployed. I wrote a book."
Naqvi, interviewed at a cafe in Karachi , where he now lives, pointed that the real-life terrorism suspect and his own fictional character weren't born and bred in America.
"Unlike the U.K. , I don't think you'll have homegrown terrorism from the Muslim population in America. It's part of the premise of the States, that you can be Chinese-American or Italian-American or Pakistani-American. If you're born in the U.S., you can be president. If you're a Turk in Germany or Congolese in Belgium , that's not viable," Naqvi said.
In Hamid's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," the main character, Changez, throws in his Wall Street job after 9-11, when the American-led invasion of Afghanistan made him "tremble with fury" and he found "affronts were everywhere."
A love affair also goes sour. He grows a beard to mark his Muslim identity. Moving back to Pakistan , he encounters an American visitor. The novel suggests that he might attack the American, but it ends before we find out.
In a telephone interview from New York , where he was visiting, Hamid said he thought that the journey from assimilated American to terrorist had three vital stages. First, a personal trauma such as a broken love affair or a financial disaster; a personality type that doesn't embrace complexity of the sort that's involved in being a Pakistani-American and a desire to purge oneself of that complexity; and third, a narrative in which the new, simplified identity fits into a sense of persecution.
"All three of these things lining up inside one person doesn't happen very often," Hamid. said. "That does help to explain why so few people become terrorists."
Shahzad's life seemed to come apart in recent years. Disturbed by the U.S. "war on terror," he reportedly became a fundamentalist and tried to force his wife to wear a burqa. His house was repossessed. He moved his family to Pakistan before flying back to the U.S., allegedly to carry out the bombing.
"Home Boy's" protagonist explains why he no longer fit into New York : "There was a time when a police presence was reassuring . . . but now I'm afraid of them. I'm afraid all the time. I feel like a marked man. I feel like an animal."
(Shah is a McClatchy special correspondent.)
 

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Pakistani Major Among 2 New Arrests in Bombing


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An army officer and a businessman have been detained as part of a widening inquiry into a circle of Pakistanis who had some knowledge of the activities of the man charged with trying to set off a crude car bomb in Times Square, according to a Western official and an American intelligence official. The army officer was arrested in Rawalpindi, the garrison city that serves as the headquarters of the Pakistani Army, the American intelligence official said. He appeared to have been disaffected, and his involvement with Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American charged with the failed bombing in New York, did not signal the involvement of the Pakistani Army in the attack, the intelligence official said.

The arrest of the officer, who holds the rank of major and whose name was not disclosed, and of Salman Ashraf Khan, 35, an executive of a catering company that organized functions for the American Embassy here, suggested the participation of a group of Pakistanis in helping Mr. Shahzad after he returned to Pakistan from the United States last year to plan the bombing, the officials said.

Several other Pakistani men have been arrested in the Islamabad area in connection with the case, according to a Pakistani intelligence official who did not offer details about the men's backgrounds.

A senior Pakistani official said Friday that Mr. Khan and the army major were among several Pakistanis being questioned in connection with the Times Square case. Investigators were still sorting out exactly what role, if any, each individual played in helping Mr. Shahzad develop and plan the attack, the official said.

The arrest of the army major, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times, raised questions of whether the Pakistani Army harbored some officers and soldiers sympathetic to the cause of the Pakistani Taliban, the militant group that Mr. Shahzad has told American investigators trained him for his bombing attempt. Mr. Shahzad has said he traveled to North Waziristan, a major base for the Pakistani Taliban, to prepare for the attack.

The Pakistani Army has conducted a series of offensives against the Pakistani Taliban in the past year, and the arrest of an officer for working surreptitiously against that policy would be considered an embarrassment for the army, which is the country's most powerful institution.

The spokesman for the Pakistani Army denied earlier this week that an officer had been detained in the Times Square case. He said that an officer had been arrested because he had declined to fight, for religious reasons. Pakistani officials have been reluctant to discuss the Times Square bombing case, and when they have done so they have played down any involvement of the Pakistani Taliban, choosing instead to depict Mr. Shahzad as a lone operator. The nation's premier spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, is in charge of the investigation of the case, Pakistani officials have said.

Like Mr. Shahzad, the catering executive, Mr. Khan, attended college in the United States. He appears to have been part of a loose network of middle-class, educated Pakistani men here in Islamabad, the capital, who assisted Mr. Shahzad in planning the Times Square attack.

The investigation and arrests in Islamabad appeared to concentrate on this informal network, which is suspected of having helped to recruit Pakistanis living abroad who wanted to return home to train for terrorist attacks, a Western official said. They appeared to be motivated by a strong belief in jihadist causes and a hatred of the West, the official said.

The network appears to have included Mr. Khan and a close friend, Ahmed Raza Khan, who, like Mr. Khan, was arrested in Islamabad on May 10, Mr. Khan's father, Rana Ashraf Khan, said.

Mr. Shahzad is the son of a retired senior Pakistani Air Force officer, and it appeared that the arrested army major was an acquaintance of Mr. Shahzad's father, according to a British terrorism expert, Sajjan Gohel, who is familiar with the investigation into the Times Square bombing.

The major may have helped Mr. Shahzad get in touch with the Pakistani Taliban and may have helped him travel to North Waziristan, Mr. Gohel said.

Mr. Khan's arrest became public on Friday, after the United States Embassy warned American residents in Pakistan to avoid using his company, Hanif Rajput Caterers, because "terrorist groups may have established links" to it. The embassy sent an e-mail message with the warning and posted it on the embassy's Web site.

Mr. Khan disappeared May 10, when he failed to arrive at the company headquarters after leaving his house in his car, his father, who is the company's chief executive, said in an interview in Islamabad.

Mr. Khan graduated from the University of Houston in 2000, having majored in computer science, and then returned to Pakistan to work in the family's catering business, his father said. Since graduating, he had not returned to the United States and he was married three years ago, his father said.

Rana Ashraf Khan described his son as religious, but "definitely not an extremist." Asked if his son had negative feelings toward the United States, he said: "To be honest, yes. But that is common."

"I am shocked," he said of the accusation that his son was connected to the Times Square bombing, saying that his son had organized 900 catering events in the last six months, some for as many as 2,000 guests. The father said his son and his son's wife lived with him in the family home in Islamabad.

Mr. Khan left the home for work at his usual time, about 11 a.m., on May 10, the father said. He never reached the office, according to the account. About noon, a man turned up outside the family's house in Mr. Khan's car, parked it and then left in a waiting taxi, the father said.

A dinner for 20 people, booked by a senior American diplomat for Saturday night, was suddenly canceled Friday by the United States Embassy, said Fahim Khan, the company's sales manager. Until several years ago, when security at the embassy was tightened, the company catered the annual ball for the United States Marines, he said.

The notice circulated by the United States Embassy came two days after the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, arrived in Islamabad to share leads with the Pakistani government on the investigation into the Times Square case.

The elder Mr. Khan, who founded the catering company, said that despite frequent requests, the Pakistani authorities had refused to disclose his son's whereabouts.

Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington.
 

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The Poet Versus the Prophet
On standing up to totalitarian Islam


I got to know the poet Allen Ginsberg towards the end of his life. Not very well, just a nodding acquaintance, but after he died I attended a memorial in his honor at the City University Graduate School. At that service, his personal assistant related a story about Ginsberg's reaction to the death sentence pronounced on the novelist Salman Rushdie by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. Rushdie's "crime," you'll recall, was writing a provocative, perhaps even blasphemous novel inspired by the life of Muhammad called The Satanic Verses.

Though I might be screwing up a few details, the gist of the story was as follows: Soon after news of the fatwa broke, Ginsberg and his assistant climbed into the back seat of a taxi in Manhattan. After a glance at the cab driver's name, Ginsberg politely inquired if he was a Muslim. When the cabbie replied that he was, Ginsberg asked him what he thought about the death sentence on Rushdie. The cabbie answered that he thought that Rushdie's book was disrespectful of Islam, and that the Ayatollah had every right to do what he had done. At this point, according to his assistant, Ginsberg, one of the gentlest men ever to walk the planet, flew into a rage, screaming at the cabbie as he continued to drive, "Then I shit on your religion! Do you hear me? I shit on Islam! I shit on Muhammad! Do you hear? I shit on Muhammad!" Ginsberg demanded that the cabbie pull over. The cabbie complied, and, without paying the fare, Ginsberg and his assistant climbed out. He was still screaming at the cabbie as the car drove off.

I've had a couple of weeks now to think about Ginsberg cursing out that cabbie, and cursing out Islam and Muhammad. You see, I live in Manhattan, three blocks from Times Square. As near as I can determine, I was walking with a friend about thirty feet from the car bomb on May 1st right around the time it was supposed to detonate. Except for the technical incompetence of a Muslim dirtbag named Faisal Shahzad, I and my friend would likely be dead now. Note the phrase: "Muslim dirtbag." Neither term by itself accounts for the terrorist act he attempted to perpetrate; both terms, however, are equally complicit in it. It might have been a crapshoot of nature and nurture that wrought a specimen like Shahzad, but it was Islam that inspired him, that gave his fecal stain of a life its depth and its justification. Why is that so difficult to admit?

Let me ask the question another way: Where's the rage? Why won't anyone say in public what Ginsberg said in the back seat of that cab? If Islam justifies, or is understood by millions of Muslims to justify, setting off a bomb in Times Square, then I shit on Islam.

There are times for interfaith dialogue, for mutual respect and compassion. This isn't one of them. Shahzad's car bomb was parked in front of the offices of Viacom, the parent company of the Comedy Central, which airs the program South Park. Last month, the creators of South Park decided to poke fun at the Prophet Muhammad—just as they'd poked fun at Moses and Jesus many times in the past. Death threats followed. It's too early to connect the Times Square bomb plot to the South Park blasphemy, but police have not ruled it out.

If Shahzad was offended by an animated cartoon and decided to defend the Prophet's name by killing hundreds of civilians—mothers with their babies in strollers, wide-eyed teenagers in tour groups, husbands and wives out for a night on the town—then I'll say, along with the poet, I shit on Muhammad.

Americans characterize our collective deference towards the feelings of Muslims as "political correctness." The phrase may be apt with respect to certain ethnic and religious minorities, but our tip-toeing around Islamic sensibilities is nothing more than plain, old-fashioned cowardice. MSNBC stooge Lawrence O'Donnell, for example, repeatedly slandered Mormonism during the 2008 presidential campaign as a sidebar to his creepily obsessive verbal jihad against then-candidate Mitt Romney. But when asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt whether he would insult Muhammad the way he'd insulted Joseph Smith, O'Donnell replied with rare candor: "Oh, well, I'm afraid of what the... that's where I'm really afraid. I would like to criticize Islam much more than I do publicly, but I'm afraid for my life if I do.... Mormons are the nicest people in the world. They'll never take a shot at me. Those other people, I'm not going to say a word about them."

That's the problem in a nutshell. But it's not just O'Donnell's problem. It's our problem. America's problem. The West's problem. We lack the moral courage to walk the walk, to put our individual lives on the line in order to defend the principles of free thought and free expression—the very principles that allowed the Judeo-Christian West to leave the Islamic East in the dust, literally and figuratively, three centuries ago.

When Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered for producing a short movie critical of Islam's treatment of women in 2004, where were the public screenings of the film? When Muslims in several countries rioted against pen and ink images of Muhammad printed in a Danish newspaper in 2005, where were the public billboards of those sketches? And when the creators of South Park trotted out the Prophet in a ridiculous bear costume, and received death threats in return, where were the mass-produced tee shirts of that image?

I'll take a size-medium, cotton if possible, and I'll wear it in Times Square.

Since 2001, many Americans have asked how they can contribute in a direct way to the war against totalitarian Islam. Now we have an answer. If it's legal, and likely to offend the radicals, just do it. That seems straightforward enough. But how many of us will have the nerve to stand up to a million or so Muslim dirtbags, and to scores of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of their fellow travelers and psychic enablers, and say in unison, "You want to kill the Enlightenment, you're going to have to come through me."

Mark Goldblatt's new novel, Sloth, has nothing to do with Islam, but he is pleased to announce that the cover image of a cockroach is in fact Muhammad. You can tell because his antennae form the letter "M."
 

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Pakistan detainees proud of role in NYC bomb case

By ASIF SHAHZAD and KATHY GANNON (AP) – 1 hour ago
ISLAMABAD — Two men detained in Pakistan for alleged links to the attempted Times Square bombing have admitted playing a role in the botched attack and are unrepentant, with one angrily accusing interrogators of "siding with the infidels," a senior intelligence official said Saturday.
The pair are among six men officials say have been detained in Pakistan for alleged ties to Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American arrested in the United States two days after the failed May 1 attack in New York. Like Shahzad, the detainees are all members of their country's urban elite, including several who were educated in the United States.
Details about the six were released late Friday, though officials have not said when they were detained. Five were picked up in the capital, Islamabad, and one is co-owner of a posh catering company that the U.S. Embassy said was suspected of ties to terrorist groups.
The intelligence official, part of the team questioning the men, cited the two suspects as saying they did not do anything wrong and "proudly" describing Shahzad as their friend.
The official said one of the suspects had even accused his interrogators of "siding with the infidels."

One of the suspects, identified as Shoaib Mughal, is alleged to be a go-between for Shahzad and Pakistani Taliban in their hide-outs close the Afghan border. He was running a large computer dealership in Islamabad before his detention, said the intelligence official who — like most operatives in spy agencies around the world — did not give his name.
The other suspect, identified only by his first name Shahid, is alleged to have helped arrange money for Shahzad. He has an MBA from the U.S. and apparently knew Shahzad from his time there.
The other four suspects have also expressed their hatred for the West and the U.S., but have not admitted any links with Shahzad, the official said.
None of the men has been charged, though in Pakistan that sometimes does not happen for months, if not years, particularly if detainees are held by an intelligence agency.
Pakistani intelligence cooperates closely with the CIA, which is often given access to detainees.
Shahzad is accused of leaving an SUV rigged with a homemade car bomb in New York's Times Square on May 1 that failed to explode. The 30-year-old was born in Pakistan and moved to the United States when he was 18. The son of a former air force officer, he led a privileged life. He has family roots in the northwestern city of Peshawar and grew up in at least one other city, Karachi, relatives and officials have said.
Shahzad claimed during a long interrogation that he received financial support from the Pakistani Taliban, two U.S. law enforcement officials close to the probe said Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation has not been completed.
Investigators believe his U.S. funding was channeled through an underground money transfer network known as "hawala," the officials said. But, one official said "there's a belief that no one in the U.S. who got him the funds was aware of what they were for."
He was the only person in the United States who was "operational" in the plot, the official said.
Among those detained in Pakistan was Salman Ashraf Khan, the co-owner of the upscale Hanif Rajput Catering Service. Two other suspects "wanted him to help bomb a big gathering of foreigners" whose event his company was catering, the Pakistani intelligence officer said.
Khan's father said Saturday he was baffled by the accusations because his son is a successful businessman who lived happily as a student in the U.S. for four years. The younger Khan studied hotel management in Florida and computer science in Houston, returning to Pakistan in 2001 to take over the family business.
"How can a man who is so much involved in this business be accused for such an activity, which only a wild animal can think about?" Rana Ashraf Khan said in a telephone interview.
"He might have differences about whatever has been going on in our region for the last 10 or 11 years, we all have differences," Khan said. "(But he had) no feelings against the United States at all. He lived there happily, he studied there."
The family reported Salman Ashraf Khan missing after he failed to turn up at his office on May 10. A neighbor's guard saw a man drop off Khan's car at the family home about an hour after he left for work, then speed off in a taxi with several others, the father said.
Hanif Rajput Catering Service is popular among foreign embassies and many of Pakistan's wealthiest companies and individuals. In a statement on its website, the U.S. Embassy warned the catering company was suspected of ties to terrorist groups and said American diplomats had been instructed to stop using the firm.
Also detained was a former major who bought his way out of the army because of a "disagreement with its policies," said the intelligence official.
The ex-major is from Rawalpindi, where the army headquarters is situated. Last week, an army spokesman denied anyone connected to the army was arrested in the probe, saying only a retired major had been arrested on disciplinary grounds and was being investigated.

The link to the army is noteworthy because of the Pakistani military's past support for Islamist militants in Afghanistan and Kashmir, and Shazad's family ties to the air force. It was unclear whether the suspect's alleged ties to Shahzad were ongoing when he still served.
Associated Press writers Anita Chang in Islamabad and Tom Hays in New York contributed to this report.
 

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Evidence mounts that Pakistani major spoke to Times Square suspect

A Pakistani law enforcement source says the major had cellphone contact with Faisal Shahzad just before the bombing attempt. Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Washington Pakistani and U.S. investigators cited growing evidence Saturday that a Pakistani army major had been in cellphone contact with a man who allegedly attempted to bomb Times Square in New York, including the possibility that they spoke shortly before the failed bombing.

U.S. officials said they were aware of cellphone traffic between Faisal Shahzad and the unidentified Pakistani military officer, bolstering reports days earlier from Pakistani law enforcement sources.

A Pakistani law enforcement source added detail Saturday, saying the major had cellphone contact with Shahzad on May 1, the day of the botched bombing, including a conversation that occurred as the Pakistani American was allegedly parking his SUV rigged with propane tanks, fertilizer and fireworks.

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Investigators are keenly interested in the major's role in the bombing attempt because he had more than one cellphone conversation with Shahzad from the time the suspect allegedly loaded his Nissan Pathfinder with bomb components to the moment he parked the vehicle and walked away, said the Pakistani source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the investigation.

U.S. officials said they could not confirm that timing of the conversations between Shahzad and the major. U.S. investigators have limited information about the major, who is in custody in Pakistan, and are negotiating with the Pakistani government to interrogate him, they said.

The Pakistani source said the sequence of phone calls suggests that the major was aware of the plan that Shahzad is accused of trying to carry out — detonating a bomb in one of New York's prime tourist magnets — though investigators are still trying to determine the major's exact role.

Investigators know of at least one meeting between the major and Shahzad in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, sometime in 2009, the Pakistani source said. Authorities have previously said they believed that Shahzad arrived in Pakistan from the U.S. last summer and later went to Pakistan's tribal areas, where he got training in bomb-making at a Taliban camp.

The bomb was poorly constructed and had little chance of causing a large number of deaths, suggesting that its maker was unable to follow through with whatever training he did receive.

Although Pakistani authorities have been cooperating with U.S. investigators in ferreting out Pakistanis linked to Shahzad, they have tried to downplay any ties he might have to the Taliban, instead portraying him as a lone wolf.

Three weeks into the investigation, however, there appears to be little doubt of the Pakistani Taliban's strong link to Shahzad and the bombing attempt.

Pakistani law enforcement sources have said that, while Shahzad was in Pakistan last summer, he met with a Taliban facilitator at least three times. At one of those meetings, the Taliban member provided an undisclosed sum of money because Shahzad had said he was running out of cash. U.S. officials familiar with the case have said that the Taliban gave Shahzad about $15,000 to finance the attack.

A Taliban member who said he was familiar with Shahzad's travels in Pakistan's tribal areas last year said Taliban facilitators transported Shahzad from the northwestern city of Peshawar into the Mohmand region in the tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan.

There, he said, Shahzad was taken to Omar Khalid, the Pakistani Taliban's leader in Mohmand, before getting five days of training at a Taliban camp near the village of Baizai, near the border.

It remains unclear whether the major had any connection with the Taliban. However, his role in the case could become an embarrassment for the Pakistani military, which regards the Taliban as a formidable threat to the country and has launched large-scale offensives against the militant group in the country's restive Swat Valley and in several tribal belt regions, including South Waziristan, Bajaur and Orakzai.

The army has denied that any officer has been arrested in connection with the Shahzad case and said that the major in question was arrested for disciplinary reasons. It also described him as a retired army major. However, the law enforcement source said the major was in the army at the time of his arrest.

The major is one of at least 13 people who have been arrested or detained in Pakistan in connection with the Shahzad case. Pakistani authorities have also arrested Salman Ashraf Khan, the co-owner of a catering company that serves embassies and large companies.

It is unclear how Khan might be tied to the Times Square bombing attempt. On Friday, the U.S. Embassy issued a warning about the catering company, Hanif Rajput Catering Service, saying that it had links to terrorist groups.
 

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