Failed bomber from elite background

Botched NY plot: Shahzad admits attending Pak terror camps

Failed bomber from elite background

Faisal Shahzad, in a photo from Orkut. AP

Faisal Shahzad, 30, who was born in Pakistan and became a US citizen last year, is accused of trying to kill and maim people with a car bomb in Manhattan on Saturday night. He faces life in prison if convicted.

New York police said Shahzad had admitted trying training in a Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold in Pakistan. But on the surface, he bears no resemblance to the many impoverished Pakistani men who have been lured to the Taliban by promises of holy war and martyrdom.

Shahzad, a former financial analyst who worked in the US state of Connecticut, is the son of a retired vice air marshal, affording him a special status in Pakistan, where the military is the most powerful and influential institution.

He is married with two children, with his wife and children living somewhere in Pakistan. He had a job in Karachi some years ago and still carries a residency card from the city. He recently visited the area with his family to attend a wedding, local media reported.

New threat

The case points to what could be a new threat to US security: Pakistani immigrants attracted to militancy who move back and forth between the two countries. Shahzad fits the profile of many Pakistanis in the United States: educated and with a higher income than the population as a whole, and often in professional or management jobs. According to US Census data from 2005 there were an estimated 2,10,410 Pakistanis in the US. More than half hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Shahzad’s father, Bahar-ul-Haq, hurriedly vacated the family home in Peshawar late on Tuesday to avoid attention.

Shahzad’s family is from the northwestern farming village of Mohib Banda.

‘This is our son’

Residents expressed disbelief on learning of Shahzad’s involvement in the bombing attempt. “This is our son,” retired schoolteacher Nazirullah Khan said. “I recognised him. Last time when I met him, he didn’t have a beard. I attended his wedding.”

New York court documents said Shahzad returned to the US on Feb 3 on a one-way ticket from Pakistan, where he had spent the last five months visiting his parents.
His brother is a mechanical engineer in Canada, Pakistani security officials said.

Friends, kin detained

On Tuesday in Karachi, Pakistan detained several associates, including friends and members of his extended family, officials said.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Shahzad’s family “are on our radar”. “He is not from a radical or illiterate family. He is from an educated family. We are looking into how he got radicalised,” he said.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)