x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

White House says Pakistani Taliban behind New York bomb attempt

President Barack Obama's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser said today that authorities believe the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted car bombing in Times Square.

WASHINGTON // President Barack Obama's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser said today that authorities believe the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted car bombing in Times Square. White House adviser John Brennan said, while the investigation is ongoing, it appears that accused bomber Faisal Shahzad was working for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. Mr Brennan said the finding "underscores the serious threat that we face from a very determined enemy".

Mr Brennan's comments come after speculation that TTP had orchestrated the attack. Shahzad, a US citizen of Pakistani descent, spent five months in Pakistan before returning to the United States in February and preparing his attack. Shahzad has told investigators that he trained in the lawless tribal areas of Waziristan, where both al Qa'eda and the Pakistani Taliban operate. The US attorney general Eric Holder also linked the Pakistani Taliban to the failed Times Square bombing. Mr Holder said the Taliban in Pakistan was "intimately involved" and "directed this plot".

The finding could increase US pressure on Pakistan to clamp down on the TTP network. Mr Brennan said Islamabad was being very cooperative in the investigation but that the US wants to know exactly who may have been helping Shahzad. "There are a number of terrorist and militant groups operating in Pakistan," he said. "And we need to make sure there's no support being given to them by the Pakistani government."

Mr Brennan would not say whether Shahzad may be connected to the fugitive al Qa'eda cleric Anwar al Awlaki, other than to acknowledge his internet sermons are popular among extremists. *AP