Pakistani-American indicted in Times Square car bomb attempt


New York : A federal grand jury has indicted Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad in the Times Square bombing attempt on 10 counts, including attempt to commit international terrorism and use a weapon of mass destruction.

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Six of the charges against Shahzad, 30, carry a maximum life sentence if convicted, including two that bring a mandatory life sentence, according to a Department of Justice statement issued after his indictment in New York Thursday.

“The facts alleged in this indictment show that the Pakistani Taliban facilitated Faisal Shahzad’s attempted attack on American soil,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

Shahzad received explosives training and money from people believed to be associated with Tehrik-e-Taliban, a militant extremist group in Pakistan, according to the indictment and a previous criminal complaint.

Shahzad, a Pakistan-born naturalised American citizen, is accused of attempting to set off the botched vehicle bomb in Times Square on May 1. He was arrested two days later while trying to flee to Pakistan on a flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Shahzad is expected to be arraigned Monday, according to the Justice Department statement.

CNN cited senior counterterrorism officials as saying Shahzad also pondered attacks on Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal and the World Financial Centre in New York City, as well as Connecticut helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky. He cased some of the targets, the officials said.

Shahzad’s arrest heightened concerns about the Pakistani Taliban, which authorities believe directed the Times Square plot. US intelligence officials fear that the Taliban are actively plotting to strike within the United States and are targeting American interests overseas.

The court documents allege that Shahzad bought a semi-automatic rifle, a Nissan Pathfinder and components to make an explosive device, then drove the vehicle loaded with the bomb to Time Square on May 1.

“After parking the Pathfinder, Shahzad attempted to begin the detonation process of the improvised explosive and incendiary devices,” the Justice Department said.

After his May 3 arrest as he attempted to fly to Dubai, “Shahzad admitted that he had recently received bomb-making training in Pakistan,” it said.

“He also admitted that he had brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it,” the statement added.