Pakistani Muslim with U.S. citizenship planned Paris-style jihad attacks in NYC
A US citizen of Pakistani origin was planning to carry out Paris-style attacks on “heavily populated areas” in New York City, revealed a report shared by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with Pakistani authorities.
The FBI report, handed over to the interior ministry for extradition of the 18-year-old suspect Talha Haroon, says that he, along with his co-conspirator and an undercover FBI agent, “plotted to carry out deadly bombings in heavily populated areas of New York City in the name of the [IS]”.
The report claimed that Haroon was stationed in Pakistan in April of last year and planned attacks on the New York Subway, Times Square and a concert.
The report also claimed that Mr Haroon had been associated with the Taliban in the past and had later switched his allegiance to IS.
The report claimed that Mr Haroon wanted to carry out an attack in NYC around June 2016. It said that the suspects “identified multiple potential targets of their plot to launch terrorist attacks in New York City”. One target was the New York subway, Times Square was another. The report claimed that the suspects “discussed plans to detonate a car bomb in Times Square”.
The FBI report quoted a communication between the co-conspirator and Mr Haroon from May 12, 2016: “We just walk in with guns in our hands. That’s how the Paris guys did it. You just walk in and shoot anyone who says anything.”
According to the report, on or about Sept 22, 2016, the FBI was advised that Mr Haroon had recently been taken into custody in Pakistan. On Sept 27, Mr Haroon was charged in a criminal complaint before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The complaint charged Mr Haroon on five counts of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiring to commit act of terrorism, conspiring to bomb a place of public use and public transportation, conspiring to provide material support or resources to terrorists and conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation.
Each of the five charges count as a separate offence and each charged offence is punishable under US law with more than one year of imprisonment.
But even though the Islamabad district administration completed the process of Mr Haroon’s extradition at the request of US authorities, the Islamabad High Court stayed the extradition on March 27, 2017 with a direction to the federal government to respond to a petition filed by Mr Haroon’s father.
The petitioner had claimed that since Mr Haroon did not commit any offence in the US, the American government could not seek his custody.