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Pakistan police arrest 3 in connection with Times Square bomb plot

Pakistani police announced Wednesday the arrest of three men suspected of helping Faisal Shahzad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] plan and fund his failed May attempt to detonate a bomb in New York City's Times Square. Officials said that the young Pakistani citizens, Shahid Hussain, Shoaib Mughal and Humba Akhtar, who were arrested following a long-running investigation, confessed their involvement to police and are being charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism. The men reportedly provided Shahzad with more than USD $13,000 and arranged for him to meet and train with Hakimullah Mehsud [NYT profile], the head of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) [CTC Sentinel backgrounder], the Pakistani arm of the Taliban terrorist group. The suspects are reputed to have close ties to Mehsud.

Shahzad pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to 10 counts of terrorism and weapons charges [indictment, PDF] in June, telling the US court that he was a Muslim soldier [Al Jazeera report] and that his actions were an act of war. Earlier this month, the US State Department (DOS) [official website] declared TTP a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) [press release, PDF] as the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced it was bringing charges [JURIST report] against Mehsud in connection to a December 2009 attack on Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] outpost Camp Chapman in Afghanistan. The TTP has been implicated in or claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist acts, including multiple assaults on NATO supply lines in Pakistan's tribal region, a 2009 attack on a police station in the Bannu province and the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto [JURIST report]. Despite rumors of his death [NYT report], the DOJ considers Mehsud a fugitive at large.

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