October 6, 2010 / 6:32 AM / in 7 years

Briton killed in Pakistan linked to failed NY bomber

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A British man killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan had ties with the would-be Times Square bomber, a Pakistani intelligence official said on Wednesday.

The official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters the Briton, Abdul Jabbar, had also been in the process of setting up a branch for the Taliban in Britain.

“He had some links to Faisal Shahzad but the nature of the ties are not clear,” the official said, referring to the Pakistani-born U.S. citizen who tried to set off a car bomb in New York’s busy Times Square in May.

Shahzad was sentenced on Tuesday in a New York court to life in prison after he defiantly said more attacks on America were imminent.

News of Jabbar’s death came after an alleged al Qaeda plot to attack European targets put Pakistan’s performance against militants under scrutiny again.

The Pakistani intelligence official said Jabbar came to Pakistan in 2009 and received militant training in North Waziristan, a lawless ethnic Pashtun region on the Afghan border which is part of a global hub for militants.

Jabbar had earlier survived a drone strike on a militant training camp run by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a commander allied to the Haqqani network, an Afghan Taliban faction seen as one of the most effective forces battling Western troops in Afghanistan.

“He was eventually killed in a drone strike near Miranshah on September 8,” the official said, referring to the main town of North Waziristan.

Another intelligence official said Jabbar was also closely associated with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the main Taliban grouping Pakistan, which has links to al Qaeda.

The TTP last month threatened attacks on the United States and Europe. Shahzad was the closest it came to success.

Both intelligence officials said they had not come any information suggesting Jabbar was plotting a specific attack.

The United States has stepped up attacks by its pilotless drone aircraft over northwest Pakistan since late 2008. Most of the attacks have been in North Waziristan.

On Monday, Pakistani security officials said eight German militants were killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan. A Pakistani security official said Abdul Ghaffar, a senior German militant, was also killed in a missile strike in the area a few weeks ago.

A new White House assessment concluded that Pakistan has been unwilling to aggressively pursue al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban militants in the Pakistani tribal lands.

Additional reporting and writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Michael Georgy and Miral Fahmy

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