The wife of the suspect of the bombings in New York and New Jersey, Ahmad Rahami, left the United States before the bombings occurred.
Asia Bibi Rahami is currently in the United Arab Emirates, where she will remain until she flies back to the United States this week. U.S. officials say she is cooperating with investigators and officials in the UAE.
The woman was traveling to her native Pakistan via the United Arab Emirates, and she was stopped by officials on Monday. Ahmad Rahami’s wife is not under investigation, nor is she considered to be connected with the bombings in New York and New Jersey last weekend. There are no reports suggesting that she knew anything about her husband’s plans.
Asia Bibi Rahami married Ahmad Khan Rahami in July of 2011 in Pakistan. Her husband was in the country for several weeks. He told American law enforcement that he had been there visiting family when he returned to the United States.
Later that year, Ahmad Rahami filed the required immigration paperwork for bringing his wife to the United States. The United States approved the petition in 2012. However, issues with the paperwork arose in 2014. Rahami got in touch with U.S. Rep. Albio Sires for help with his wife’s visa and passport.
When contacted by the press, Rep. Sires said he did not know how the immigration situation played out. He said he advised the couple to go to Karachi, Pakistan.
On September 20, Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, petitioned Homeland Security regarding the immigration files for both Ahmad Khan Rahami and his wife, Asia Bibi Rahami.
Ahmad Khan Rahami was formally charged by the New York Police Department on Wednesday. The expected charges were for material support or terrorism. The actual charges include property destruction, bombing, and use of weapons of mass destruction.
Police apprehended Rahami on Tuesday morning after a shootout with police. His fingerprints were found on one of the bombs. He also used his own name to purchase materials for building the bombs on eBay.
The bombs were made out of a pressure cooker and left in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. Pipe bombs were also discovered in Seaside Park and Elizabeth, New Jersey, where Ahmad Rahami lived. Detonation of the Chelsea bomb injured 29 people and resulted in significant damage to nearby property.
According to the NYPD complaint, Ahmad began buying materials between June 20 and August 10. Rahami’s father, who lives in Elizabeth, New Jersey, told the press that he had called the FBI on his son in 2014.
Rahami lived with his mother and father above the family’s restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Ahmad Rahami was the subject of a low-level assessment by the FBI in 2014 after his father accused him of being a terrorist and stabbing his brother. The assessment revealed no ties to terrorist organizations. He was not indicted by a grand jury over the incident. A U.S. official familiar with the investigation said that Ahmad Rahami was not on any watch lists.
This may explain the NYPD complaint against Rahami. It suggests that authorities have been unable to tie Ahmad to a terrorist group or wider organization. However, police found a personal journal in a backpack near Rahami’s home featuring quotes referring to jihad.
Friends of Ahmad Rahami say he was a typical kid. Flee Jones, a friend of Rahami, told the Boston Herald that Rahami changed after his trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan four years ago. Jones described the young man who returned home as “serious and completely closed off.”
The investigation of the bombings remains on-going.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]