Monday, November 29, 1999

Computer programmer among 3 detained Pakistanis in New York

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New York, May 15 (IANS) One of the three Pakistani men detained by US authorities investigating the failed Times Square car bombing is a computer programmer, one a gas station attendant and the third a cabdriver.Taken into custody Thursday after raids on Long Island, in the suburbs of Boston and in New Jersey, they have not been charged in connection with any crime, but were still being held Friday by federal immigration authorities on administrative violations, according to the New York Times.Attorney General Eric H. Holder said Thursday that investigators believed the three men had provided money to Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad, who has admitted driving a sport utility vehicle packed with a crude bomb to Times Square.But he said it was unclear if they knew the funds were going to be used for an act of terrorism.One of the three men, Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, a computer programmer who was taken into custody in Portland, Maine, told his employer days earlier that he knew the accused would-be bomber, Faisal Shahzad, but had not seen him in nearly a decade.The connections between the other two men, Pir Khan, 43, who until recently drove a cab in the Boston area, and Aftab Khan, who was in his 20s and worked in a gas station in Brookline, and Shahzad were unclear, the Times said.Rahman's employer, Larry Adlerstein, owner of Artist & Craftsman Supply in Portland, said he was shocked that the authorities were interested in his employee.Adlerstein said he hired Rahman about eight or nine months ago to work as a computer programmer, after Rahman answered Adlerstein's Craigslist employment advertisement.Pir Khan, a taxi driver, recently sold his medallion, his brother-in-law, Fida Muhammed was quoted as saying.Pir Khan would often go to New York to pick up friends who recently arrived from Pakistan and would drive them back to the Boston area, Muhammed said.Muhammed said that Aftab Khan was engaged to an American soldier he met on a base in Kuwait and that they recently broke up.

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