Washington – American officials said Wednesday that it was very likely that a radical group once thought unable to attack the United States had played a role in the bombing attempt in Times Square, elevating concerns about whether other militant groups could deliver at least a glancing blow on American soil.
Officials said that after two days of intense questioning of the bombing suspect, Faisal Shahzad, evidence was mounting that the group, the Pakistani Taliban, had helped inspire and train Mr. Shahzad in the months before he is alleged to have parked an explosives-filled sport utility vehicle in a busy Manhattan intersection on Saturday night. Officials said Mr. Shahzad had discussed his contacts with the group, and investigators had accumulated other evidence that they would not disclose.
One senior Obama administration official cautioned that “there are no smoking guns yet” that the Pakistani Taliban had directed the Times Square bombing. But others said that there were strong indications that Mr. Shahzad knew some members of the group and that they probably had a role in training him.
In a video on Sunday, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing.
One issue that investigators are vigorously pursuing is who provided Mr. Shahzad cash to buy the S.U.V. and his plane ticket to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
“Somebody’s financially sponsoring him, and that’s the link we’re pursuing,” one official said. “And that would take you on the logic train back to Pak-Taliban authorizations,” the official said, referring to the group.