Pak to probe Shahzad, Qaeda terror links

The suspect, Faisal Shahzad, has told US investigators that he was trained in the lawless tribal areas of Waziristan, where both al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban operate. The Pakistani-American spent five months in his native country before returning to the United States in February.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Islamabad had received a formal request for an investigation from the US that said “Shahzad visited South Waziristan and they say he met Qari Hussain and Hakimullah Mehsud.”

Mehsud is the head of the Pakistani Taliban, while Hussain is the group’s chief bomb-maker who is also in charge of recruiting suicide attackers. Malik said Pakistani authorities needed to verify the information included in the US request.

Malik also stressed that only Pakistani investigators would be permitted to interview Shahzad’s relatives and other associates. “Pakistan’s government will not allow any outside investigators to investigate our people,” he said.

The Pakistani Taliban originally claimed responsibility for the failed attack, but has since backed away from the claim for reasons that were not clear.

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