ISLAMABAD -- A Pakistani anti-terrorism court Saturday acquitted four men who had been charged with helping a Pakistani-American man carry out an attempt to detonate a truck bomb in Times Square, said their lawyer and family members.

The four were arrested in the wake of Faisal Shahzad's May 2010 Times Square bombing attempt, which fizzled when the explosives in his vehicle produced smoke but no blast. Shahzad has pleaded guilty and admitted to getting training from the Pakistani Taliban in the country's tribal region along the Afghan border. He was sentenced to life in prison in the United States.

The attempted attack increased tension between Pakistan and the United States, which has long accused Islamabad of not doing enough to crack down on militants on its soil who pose a threat to the West.

Even though the men acquitted Saturday had been in custody for two years, few details had emerged about their closed-door trial in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, next to the capital Islamabad.

Such trials rarely produce convictions in Pakistan because police often lack basic investigative skills, prosecutors lack training in terror cases and judges and witnesses are often subject to intimidation.

One of the men released Saturday, Muhammad Shoaib Mughal, had been charged with providing Shahzad with financial assistance, said his lawyer, Malik Imran Safdar. The other three men, Humbal Akhtar, Muhammad Shahid Husain and Faisal Abbasi, were charged as Mughal's accomplices, said Safdar.

After their arrests, several of the men also were accused of helping Shahzad link up with militants in the tribal region. But those accusations do not seem to have resulted in any charges.

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