Investigators haven't ruled out possibility that U.S. bombing suspect Rahami had accomplices

Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that others helped suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami in a bomb plot in New York and New Jersey, a U.S. counter-terrorism official said Thursday.

FBI agents and police are still trying to locate the two men seen on surveillance video Saturday night taking a pressure-cooker bomb out of a suitcase on West 27th Street in Manhattan, the official said. That bomb did not explode. The men were seen in the video between 8 and 9 p.m., the same hour the other bomb detonated in a dumpster on 23rd Street, a few blocks away.

The two men have not been declared persons of interest or suspects in the case, but investigators have not ruled out the possibility they played a role in the plot, the official said.

Pakistan’s foreign office on Thursday offered new details about Rahami’s background. Like thousands of Afghan nationals, his family lived in Quetta, Pakistan, as refugees before coming to the U.S. in 1995, Pakistan foreign office spokesman Nafees Zakriya said.

He also said that, contrary to U.S. media reports, Rahami’s wife, Asia Bibi Rahami, is not a citizen of Pakistan. “This information is incorrect,” Zakriya said. “According to the preliminary information gathered, she is also an Afghan national, born in Kabul in 1991.”

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, confirmed that Asia Bibi Rahami was born in Afghanistan. 

She is now back in the United States and cooperating with federal investigators, according to the official.

Pakistani intelligence services are looking into the travel history of Ahmad Khan Rahami and his wife, security sources in Islamabad said. In particular, they are trying to find out more about his stay in Quetta.

Rahami, 28, is believed to have traveled to Afghanistan through Pakistan at least three times for months-long visits from 2005 to 2014, a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.

Asia Bibi Rahami left the United States for Pakistan a number of weeks before the bombings and was stopped by officials Sunday or Monday in the United Arab Emirates on her way back from Pakistan, a second official said.

Her husband faces federal charges of using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a public place, destruction of property by fire or explosive and using a destructive device in the commission of a crime of violence.

Staff writers Bennet and Wilber reported from Washington and special correspondent Sahi from Islamabad. 

 


UPDATES:

1:15 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the U.S. investigation into the bombings.

12:33 p.m.: This article was updated to say that Rahami’s wife is back in the U.S. and cooperating with investigators.

This article was originally published at 10:50 a.m.

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