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Sahzad's 'accomplice' held in Pak

world Updated: May 14, 2010 18:34 IST

PTI
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A man believed to be an accomplice of Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad has been arrested in Pakistan and has provided an "independent stream" of evidence that the Pakistani Taliban were behind the botched plot.

Citing unnamed US officials, 'The Washington Post' reported on Friday that the arrest of the alleged accomplice of Shahzad in Pakistan had not been previously disclosed.

He provided an "independent stream" of evidence that the Pakistani Taliban were behind the attempt and has admitted to helping Pakistani-American Shahzad travel to the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan for bomb training, the report said.

"What they (Shahzad and the suspect arrested in Pakistan) said has been corroborated by other evidence," a senior law enforcement source was quoted as saying by the paper.

The suspect in Pakistani custody "is believed to have a connection to the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan)," a US intelligence official said.

US officials cited by the paper declined to identify the suspect in Pakistan, but said American investigators have had direct access to him, and described him as a facilitator for the Pakistani Taliban.

They also think that Shahzad and the other suspect may have also exaggerated their accounts, as both said they met Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud while being brought into the organisation's inner core.

But US analysts are sceptical that Mehsud, who narrowly survived a drone strike earlier this year, would risk meeting face-to-face with an unproved American recruit, the report said.

US Attorney General Eric H Holder has said there was evidence that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the May 1 plot in which Shahzad allegedly tried to blow up a Nissan Pathfinder packed with explosives in the crowded Times Square, one of the world's most popular tourist attractions.

The Washing Post report came as FBI has arrested three Pakistani men in a series of raids across America's northwest.

Two of them were arrested in Boston suburbs and the other one in Maine yesterday. Authorities said the three had supplied funds to Shahzad.