The Connecticut man charged yesterday with the botched Times Square car bombing confessed to trying to slaughter innocent people in retaliation for US drone attacks that wiped out the leadership of his beloved Taliban, The Post has learned.
Admitted terrorist Faisal Shahzad -- who copped to training in explosives in the past year with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the leading extremist Islamic group in his native Pakistan -- said he was driven to evil by the slew of deaths among leaders of the terror group, law-enforcement sources revealed yesterday.
His training came in a tribal area where American drone aircraft have pummeled members of the Pakistan Taliban and al Qaeda in the past year.
Sources said he was an eyewitness to the onslaught throughout the eight months he spent in Pakistan beginning last summer.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the Times Square bombing attempt immediately after it occurred, saying it was in response to the drone killing of one of its leaders in August -- but that claim had been roundly discounted by US authorities at the time.
But by yesterday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Qureshi said, "This is a blowback. This is a reaction. This is retaliation. And you could expect that," according to CBS News.
"Let's not be naive. They're going to fight back."
Shahzad's motive came to light as he admitted leaving a smoldering makeshift bomb containing propane tanks, gasoline canisters, fertilizer and fireworks in a Nissan Pathfinder at West 45th Street and Broadway Saturday evening.
The married father of two young children was slapped with a slew of charges, including acts of terrorism, attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and transporting and using explosives.
In other developments:
* When lawmen pulled Shahzad off an Emirates Airlines flight about to take off from JFK for Dubai, he told them, "I was expecting you. Are you NYPD or FBI?" Newsweek quoted him asking.
* The 30-year-old suspect earlier had managed to slip FBI surveillance. Agents supposed to be tailing him in Bridgeport, Conn., Monday saw him leave a grocery store near his home at 3 p.m. and followed him but later lost him. The plan had been to arrest him at his apartment Monday evening.