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Pakistan to charge three men in Times Square plot

world Updated: Sep 09, 2010 03:16 IST

Reuters
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Pakistan will soon charge three men with terrorism in connection with the failed attempt to bomb New York's Times Square, a police official said on Wednesday.

They have been held since May but until now Pakistani authorities had not formally announced their arrest. The men will be charged with providing would-be Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad with money and helping him meet Taliban leaders in Pakistani tribal areas close to the Afghan border.

"They have confessed in a statement that they provided finances and other assistance to Faisal Shahzad," deputy Islamabad police chief Bin Yameen told Reuters.

Shahzad, an American of Pakistani origin held in the United States, has admitted all charges against him in connection with the plot, in which he is accused of trying to detonate a crude bomb in a car on May 1. Times Square was evacuated when the vehicle was discovered.

Yameen said the three men to be charged are Shoaib Mughal, who owns a computer business, Shahid Hussain, a former employee of a Norwegian mobile telephone company, and Humbal Akhtar, a multi-media designer.

The three were in possession of maps of New York's Times Square as well as of key Pakistani institutions like parliament, said the security official, adding they were also suspected of providing shelter for other terrorists.

ATTACK THREAT

Yameen said the three suspects appeared before a court on Tuesday and were put into detention for 14 days. "They were perpetrators, they were financiers and have close links with the TTP," he said, referring to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the main Pakistani Taliban umbrella group.

The Pakistani Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the failed Times Square bombing, last week vowed to carry out attacks in the United States and Europe "very soon".

Last week, U.S. prosecutors charged Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in absentia with involvement in a plot that killed seven CIA employees at a U.S. base in Afghanistan in December.

The United States also announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Mehsud and one of his top aides, Wali-ur-Rehman.

The CIA has killed several prominent Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in northwest Pakistan using pilotless drone aircraft. At least 15 militants were killed in two missile strikes by drones in North Waziristan on the Afghan border on Wednesday, security officials and residents said.