Last week, the US put the Tehrek-i-Taliban Pakistan on its official terrorist lists and charged its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, with something that was almost certainly not a crime. Oddly, though, DOJ did not charge Mehsud which actions they verbally alleged he committed that actually are a crime: conspiring with Faisal Shahzad in his attempted bombing of Times Square. I took from that that either DOJ knows Mehsud was not directly involved in the bombing (contrary to what they said publicly and Shahzad testified in court), or that they simply have no evidence of his involvement in spite of the reported cooperation of Faisal Shahzad.
Which is why I find it interesting that Pakistan has said it will charge (but apparently has not yet done so) three men in connection with the Times Square bombing.
Officials say the three men helped Shahzad to travel to northwestern Pakistan and meet militant leaders there, and sent him $13,000 in the U.S. when he ran short of money. The Pakistani official also said the charges won’t merely cover the plot by Shahzad – who was trained by terror goons in the northwest tribal hotbed of Mir Ali, near Afghanistan.
“They gave refuge to two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Kashmir,” said the security official, referring to the swath of mountains India and Pakistan have fought over for decades. The businessmen who helped Shahzad were identified as Shoaib Mughal, Shahid Hussain and Humbal Akhtar.
“Those are very bad boys,” the Pakistani official said.
So what has the hold up been given that the Pakistanis presumably have testimony from Shahzad, wire transfer evidence, and documents they mention elsewhere in the article?
Last week, I wondered whether the whole campaign roll-out against the TTP was designed to help Pakistan overcome its reluctance to target the TTP, which has been very useful for Pakistan. And particularly since Shahzad has ties to the military through his retired Air Force father, whether Pakistan was trying to shield powerful people tied to the plot.
Suffice it to say this is feeling a lot like Pakistan’s “crack down” on AQ Khan.