The Pakistan Taliban had been saying that it would seek revenge for the drone attacks by striking directly at the US but nobody took them seriously. Their first claim that they were behind the Times Square bomb was disbelieved as being beyond their capabilities. It is difficult to see why the idea of their involvement should have been treated with derision since suicide bombers from the Pakistan Taliban are blowing themselves up every few days along the north-west frontier.
Shahzad told his interrogators that he received training in Waziristan, though it cannot have been very serious given the amateurism of his subsequent efforts. But a high degree of technical expertise is not necessary since even the most botched and ineffective bomb attack has a powerful political impact so long as it happens in the US, as was demonstrated by the Nigerian student who tried and failed to blow up a plane over Detroit at Christmas by detonating explosives in his underpants.
One outcome of the abortive Times Square attack is that it has drawn the attention of the world to the seriousness of the fighting in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan which stretch along the Afghan border. Last year the violence there and in other parts of the North West frontier Province was enough to send 3.1 million refugees running for their lives. Many of these, particularly from the Swat valley, have now gone home, but hundreds of thousands of others are now taking flight because of army assaults on Pakistan Taliban strongholds elsewhere in FATA. These mass movements of people in obscure places like Orakzai or Kurram are hardly noticed even within Pakistan where they are reported without much detail on the inside pages of the newspapers.
Who has even heard of Orakzai and Kurram?