Investigators search for Shahzad's accomplice

Express/reuters May 07, 2010

WASHINGTON: A US law enforcement official said investigators are looking for a money courier who they believe helped finance Faisal Shahzad rig up a car bomb in the heart of New York.

Earlier today a security camera footage emerged, believed to be of Shahzad's, in which he appears to be buying fireworks at a store in the US state of Pennsylvania.

The surveillance video shows a man walking through a store of Phantom Fireworks in Matamoras, carrying a shopping basket and proceeding to the checkout counter.

The store's vice president says Shahzad bought 6 to 8 boxes containing 36 Silver Salute M88 fireworks each, on March 8. He added the fireworks were not strong enough to make a powerful bomb.

US satisfied with Pakistan's aid in NY bomb probe

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said on Thursday that it was encouraged by Pakistani cooperation in the investigation into a failed plot to bomb New York's Times Square and that Washington was letting Islamabad set the pace of its operations against militants.

"The US and Pakistan are exchanging information and we've received a pledge of cooperation from the Pakistanis regarding this issue -- the investigation that is," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said. "We're encouraged by this response."

Washington had long pressed Pakistan to publicly take on al Qaeda and Taliban militants more aggressively but has expressed satisfaction with recent offensives near the country's border with Afghanistan, where US forces have been locked in an 8-year-old war. US investigators have uncovered possible links between the suspected Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and the Pakistani Taliban, a group that has been heavily targeted by CIA drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.

"There are safe havens that have yet to be fully targeted, as aggressively targeted ... but the pace and timing and the schedule to undertake those operations is of the Pakistanis' choosing," Morrell said at a Pentagon news conference. "The secretary (of defense) is very comfortable with the degree of seriousness with which they are approaching this problem," Morrell said. "There's a recognition on everybody's part that all the terrorist havens in Pakistan must be dealt with. But we also have to deal with the reality of capacity." Morrell said Pakistan was reluctant to "overstretch their forces, to go places that they haven't been necessarily and, in the process, sacrifice gains that they've hard won elsewhere."

A Pentagon report issued last week estimated that Pakistan has shifted 100,000 of its troops from its Indian frontier to spearhead an unprecedented crackdown on militants along the Afghan border. US officials said about 140,000 Pakistani troops were taking part in offensives against militants in the semi-autonomous tribal regions, known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and the Northwest Frontier Province, near Afghanistan.

The Pentagon said the recent military deployments on the western front were the biggest in the country's history in that area.

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