US terror suspect visited Taliban stronghold Quetta in Pak

New York, Sep 20 (PTI) The Afghan-origin terror suspect inthe bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey had travelled toPakistan’s Quetta, a stronghold of the Taliban, and wasquestioned every time he returned to the US but was not on theradar, American officials said. Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalised Americancitizen of Afghan descent, was born in Afghanistan and majoredin criminal justice at Middlesex County College in New Jersey,according to the FBI. Investigators are probing whether he was radicalisedoverseas before returning to the US in 2014. In 2011, Rahami spent several weeks in Quetta, considereda stronghold of the Taliban and married a Pakistani woman,according to a law enforcement official who reviewed histravel and immigration record, CNN reported today. Upon his return to the US, he had to go through secondaryscreening for visiting an area of Pakistan known for itsTaliban presence. At that time, he told immigration officialshe was visiting family and attending his uncle’s wedding andrenewing his Pakistani visa, officials said. In 2013, Rahami went to Pakistan and remained there for ayear. His brother also travelled to Pakistan around the sametime and posted on Facebook that they heard seven bomb blastsover 24 hours at one point in Quetta, the report said. Official said Rahami travelled by car to Afghanistan fromQuetta. When he returned to the US, he was once again takeninto secondary questioning but told officials he was visitinghis wife, as well as his uncles and aunts. Each time Rahami was taken to secondary screening, hesatisfied whatever concerns immigration officials had. He wasquestioned every time he returned to the US, as is standardprocedure, but was not on the radar as someone who might havebeen radicalised, the official said. He applied to bring his wife to the US in 2011 which wasapproved but it was unclear if she ever came to the US. In 2014, Rahami contacted Congressman Albio Sires’ officefrom Islamabad for his wife’s passport which was expired. Onceit was renewed, she became pregnant and officials told herthey would not give a visa until she had the baby. Rahami, who became a naturalised US citizen in 2011, oncesaid the consulate told him to go back to Karachi, but heclaimed it was too dangerous to go there. Rahami’s family, who runs a 24-hour chicken restaurant inElizabeth, has a history of clashes with neighbours over thetiming of the eatery. They alleged discrimination and harassment in a lawsuitfiled against the city and police department, and also accuseda neighbouring business owner of saying, "Muslims make toomuch trouble in this country" and "Muslims don’t belong here".A ruling later favoured the city, saying the restaurant was"disruptive in the city for many, many years". In a Facebook post, a family member asked for privacy. Rahami, who authorities said is "directly linked" to thebombings in New York and New Jersey in which nearly 30 peoplewere injured, was captured yesterday after a shootout andcharged with five counts of attempted murder. PTI CPS AKJCPS


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