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05/11/2010

Shahzad and his possible connection to the Taliban

I don't presume to know anything Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't, which is why his insistence that Times Square bomber Aisle Shahzad was a tool of the Taliban in Pakistan is so confusing. I'm not suggesting that Shahzad had no contact with the Taliban, or that he didn't aspire to join some anti-American terror group, but the evidence that he succeeded just isn't there.
 
With brutal and ruthless regularity, the TTP, or Pakistani Taliban proves they know well how to build bombs that kill people. They sometimes fail to detonate, so do bombs and missiles built by American defense contractors, but never is there a bomb that doesn't have the proper components to do plenty of damage.
Taliban bombs don't use propane or fertilizer or m-88's, all ingredients found in Shahzad's SUV. In fact, it would be hard to find any anarchist website that would suggest so rudimentary and ineffective a device.
The Attorney General suggests that Shahzad had "training" from the Taliban, perhaps months of it. But, there is nothing about this bomb that suggests there was any training behind it, no one who knows how to build a bomb would use these components the way Shahzad did.
 
So why point this out? Clearly, Shahzad intended to kill Americans, clearly he wanted to strike at the Crossroads of the World. Why does it matter if he was guided by the Taliban or simply inspired by them?
The terror groups operating here in Pakistan, and there are many, have varying agenda's. Some seek to trigger a war with India and eventually overtake it. Some seek to overtake Pakistan and install a fundamentalist, Islamist government. Some just want to help the Afghan people expel Americans. Some have ambitions of imposing Sharia, or Muslim law over the whole world. But all of them share this: A venomous hatred for The United States. Their ambitions overlap in this one area alone, and they are determined to strike America here and, if possible, on American soil. In this way, they are inspired by September 11th and al Qaeda. As a woman who studies terror groups operating here in Pakistan told me, they are planning as we speak.
 
If we look at this pedestrian, inept effort by Faisel Shahzad as all that these groups are capable of, than we are doomed to be victims of them. They are smarter than this, they are more capable than this, and when they decide to strike with all of their resources and sophistication, we need to be ready. It would be a shame if Faisel Shahzad's failure lead America into a false sense of security, if we believed that there will always be a vendor who sees the smoke, there will always be a cop who calls in the bomb squad. When the real terrorists decide to strike, the only smoke we will see will be from the explosion. The challenge is to make sure they don't get that far. And pinning our hopes on "see something-say something" slogan will not be sufficient.
 

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