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US Warns Pakistan over Times Square Bomb Attempt

by Anne Barrowclough

The United States has delivered a tough new warning to Pakistan to crack down on Islamic militants or face severe consequences after the failed Times Square bombing.

Faisal Shahzad told inestigators he received training in North Waziristan. The hardening attitude comes amid increasing debate within the administration about how to proceed in the war on terror that included even “a boots-on-the-ground presence” on Pakistani soil, the New York Times reported. (Atlas Press / eyevine) In a meeting on Friday between Stanley McChrystal, the US military commander in Afghanistan, and Pakistani military commander General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, General McChrystal urged Pakistan quickly to begin a military offensive against the Pakistani Taleban and al-Qaeda in North Waziristan, according to the New York Times newspaper.

Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-born American whose large but amateurish bomb failed to detonate in Times Square last week has told his US interrogators that he had received training from militants in North Waziristan.

Mr Shahzad, 30, who became a US citizen in April last year, has been charged with an act of terrorism and using a weapon of mass destruction. US media reports said Mr Shahzad's family knew at least two key Pakistani militants involved in terrorist activities.

The new pressure from the Obama administration is a departure from its more usual courteous encouragement to tackle Islamic militants. The ease with which Mr Shahzad was able to move between the US and Pakistan, often carrying tens of thousands of dollars, has increased fears in the White House that another attempt at a terror attack could succeed.

The hardening attitude comes amid increasing debate within the administration about how to proceed in the war on terror that included even "a boots-on-the-ground presence" on Pakistani soil, the New York Times reported.

"We are saying, ‘Sorry, if there is a successful attack, we will have to act' " within Pakistan, an official told the newspaper.

With renewed evidence of Pakistani sources for plots to attack on American soil, it was clear the Pakistani government had to do more, and more urgently, a senior American official said.

General Kayani, was told, "‘You can't pretend any longer that this is not going on,' " another American official told the newspaper. " ‘We are saying you have got to go into North Waziristan.' "

The American ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, used "forceful language" when she met Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, after the failed bombing as she stresed that the Pakistanis had to move more assertively against militants a Pakistani official said.

"The element of threat is definitely different from the last few months," said Tariq Fatemi, a former Pakistani ambassador.

News of the harder-hitting position taken by the White House comes as a US drone killed six militants in North Waziristan today.

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