Ahmad Khan Rahimi who was born 28 years ago n Afghanistan made several trips to his home country and Pakistan between 2011 and 2014. During those trips, he secretly visited Quetta, the capital of Pakistani Baluchistan for covert meetings with Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders, debkafile’s exclusive counterterrorism sources reveal. They also disclose that Rahimi was taken under the wing of a regular Al Qaeda controller during those visits. He was in contact with this controller, who also runs a number of sleepers in America, when he executed his three bombing attacks over the weekend in New York City and New Jersey.
debkafile was the only publication to link the perpetrator of the New York and New Jersey bombings to Al Qaeda instead of ISIS in its initial report of the attacks on Sept. 18.
Our sources can now add that Rahimi was sent from Quetta to a Taliban camp in the southern Afghanistan town of Kandahar for training in building explosive devices and guerrilla combat tactics in urban environments.
His controller in Quetta put him in touch with a Pakistani woman from a Taliban family, whom he married so that he, a naturalized American citizen, could apply for a visa to bring her over to America to reinforce a clandestine Al Qaeda network. This plan fell through when the US authorities denied her application.
Although he was interviewed by FBI agents about his trips, his connection to terrorist leaders in Pakistan did not come to light. Neither did the Kandahar Taliban facility appear to be known to US counterterrorism authorities, although it must be assumed that Ahmad Khan was not the only radicalized westerner trained there.
The claim by Rahimi’s father that he tried two years ago to bring his son’s association with terrorists to the attention of the FBI recalls the case of the Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who, on Christmas Eve 2009, failed to detonate explosives in his underpants against an American Northwest Airliner.
Then too it was reported that the bomber’s father had tried to warn the FBI about his son but was not heeded
After Rahimi was injured in the shootout with police during his arrest on Sept. 19, blood-splattered papers were found on him which mentioned Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader who, from his base in Yemen, stage-managed more than one terrorist episode before he was killed by a US drone in 2011.
It also turned out that Rahimi deliberately constructed two kinds of bombs to confuse the investigation – the pressure cookers for Manhattan, including the one that blew up and injured 29 people in Chelsea, and pipe bombs in two places in New Jersey.
Given the large amount of forensic information in hand, including Rahimi’s fingerprint on an explosive device, and the gravity of his crime, it is hard to understand why the prosecutors were satisfied with charging him only with attempted murder and second degree counts of possession of a handgun – rather than terrorism.