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Emirates plane delayed in NY airport scare

Pakistan's Taliban says did not train NY bomb suspect

Published:

United States authorities stopped an Emirates airline plane as it was about to leave New York's JFK airport over a security scare, but the incident was a "false alarm," a law enforcement source said on Thursday, as Taliban in Pakistan denied any links to the Times Square suspect.

The source told Reuters that a passenger aboard the flight to Dubai had a name similar to a person on the U.S. "no fly" list.

The source said the plane, which was halted as it taxied toward a runway, later departed. A flight tracking website showed it had left an hour and a half late.

The callback came less than a week after the Times Square bombing suspect managed to board an Emirates airliner at JFK despite being on the no-fly list. He was arrested on board, and since then the Obama administration has tightened the rules airlines must follow when using the no-fly list.

The official said he did not know what exactly prompted the callback of Thursday's flight. Because the passengers were already on board, it's likely that Customs and Border Protection officials spotted a suspicious name when reviewing the final passenger list.

That layer of security is what led to the arrest of Faisal Shahzad in the Times Square case.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration ordered airlines to step up their efforts to prevent people on the list from boarding flights

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Shahzad, 30, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, with five counts, including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and trying to kill and maim people within the United States.

Shahzad had bought a ticket and boarded the plane on Monday evening despite having been put on a U.S. government "no-fly" list earlier in the day.

Denial

Pakistan's Taliban earlier said it neither trained nor recruited the alleged New York bomb plotter, further confusing inquiries into possible links between the suspect and militant cells.

Pakistani and U.S. investigators are trying to piece together how and why the son of an affluent family could have turned his back on the prospect of a comfortable life in the United States to plot mass murder.

The main spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which purportedly claimed the attack in a video but which has been described as increasingly fragmented, said the faction neither recruited nor trained Shahzad.

"We don't even know him. We did not train him," Azam Tariq told two AFP reporters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

"He may be trained by any other militant group," the spokesman added.

According to the U.S. criminal complaint, Shahzad admitted to receiving bomb-making training in Waziristan, a fortress of Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants with increasingly overlapping associations and ideology.

The New York Times said there were strong indications that Shahzad knew some members of the Taliban and that they probably had a role in training him.

But one theory touted by analysts is that Shahzad may have received limited training, but not been a full member of a militant faction.

One security official said the type of explosives planted in the Nissan SUV that Shahzad allegedly drove had Pakistani Taliban-style signatures, but that it was premature to say who he met and how he may have done it.

We don't even know him. We did not train him

Azam Tariq, Taliban