Pakistan Doubts Taliban’s Claim of Responsibility for Times Square Bombing Attempt
May 5, 2010 - 5:21 AMPakistan's army does not believe the Pakistani Taliban were behind the Times Square bomb attempt as the insurgent group has claimed, a spokesman said Wednesday.
In a video message on Sunday, the group said it carried out the attack, in what would be the first time it had been known to strike outside South Asia. U.S. officials quickly dismissed the claim, but the arrest of a Pakistan-American who allegedly has admitted to being trained in the group's heartland in Waziristan has given it new credence.
Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the military's chief spokesman, said the claim should be "taken with a pinch of salt."
"Anybody can claim anything, but whether the organization has that kind of reach is questionable. I don't think they have the capacity to reach the next level," he said.
The attack is likely to increase pressure on the Pakistani army to launch a new offensive in the northern part of Waziristan, something it has been avoiding until now. U.S. and European officials have long said that many of the terror plots in the West are hatched in the region.
Abbas declined to comment on reports that the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, had been to Waziristan for training.
The army had claimed to have delivered the Pakistani Taliban a decisive blow in an operation late last year in South Waziristan. But the notion that the Pakistani Taliban are on the ropes has been shaken by the emergence of videos of a top commander previously believed to have been killed, and the group's claims of responsibility for the Times Square bomb attempt.
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