ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Investigators have arrested a Pakistani army major linked to the prime suspect in the botched attempt to bomb New York City’s Times Square early this month, Pakistani law enforcement sources said Tuesday.
The major’s involvement with suspect Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to fly to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, remains unclear. Law enforcement sources said the major had met Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, in Islamabad, the capital, and was in cell phone contact with him.
The major’s arrest marks the first time someone in Pakistan’s military establishment has been directly linked to the case.
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.
Shahzad, who appeared Tuesday in court in New York, has told U.S. investigators that he went to North Waziristan, where he met with Taliban leaders and received training in bomb making. Pakistani investigators and U.S. officials say they believe Shahzad went to Mohmand, another region within Pakistan’s tribal belt along the Afghan border.