(Photo: AP)

His neighbors in Connecticut knew Faisal Shahzad as a 30-year-old husband and father living quietly next to them.

But prosecutors yesterday called Shahzad, a recently naturalized U.S. citizen nabbed for the foiled Times Square car bombing, a wannabe terrorist who confessed to getting explosives training in Pakistan.

Shahzad, who told officials he acted alone, was charged in Manhattan federal court yesterday with committing terrorism across international lines, attempting to use weapons of mass destruction and other crimes. It was unclear by press time what he faces if convicted.
Apparently tracked down from the prepaid cell phone he used, Shahzad was nabbed late Monday night after boarding a flight to Dubai at Kennedy Airport.

He is providing “useful information” to federal agents, even after being read his Miranda rights, said Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday. The Pakistani-born Shahzad has admitted to buying an SUV, placing a homemade bomb inside and driving it Saturday to Times Square, the criminal complaint said.

“It is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country,” Holder told reporters.

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While Shahzad insisted he operated alone, Pakistani authorities have arrested as many as eight people possibly connected to the plot. Investigators yesterday cited no direct contacts between the botched bombing to either al-Qaida or the Pakistani Taliban, which had claimed responsibility.

“In the eyes of terrorists, New York is America, and they keep coming back to kill us,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Shahzad was raised in Pakistan, but attended college and graduate school in the U.S. He become a citizen last April and was married in 2008 to Huma Mian, another U.S. citizen. The couple have two young children, according to reports.
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His family in Pakistan – including his father, a retired air vice marshal – lives in a posh section of Peshawar, but Shahzad had a home in Shelton, Conn., that went into foreclosure.
He regularly visited Pakistan, most recently in February.
Investigators swarmed his most recent address in a working-class area of Bridgeport, Conn., seeking for clues on what caused Shahzad to allegedly turn against the U.S.

Neighbor Carlos Cruz, 52, said he was startled at the scene. “I’m going to be awake from now on. It’s not good to be asleep, you know?”

The Associated Press and Newsday contributed to this story.

emily.ngo@am-ny.com