- The Washington Times - Friday, May 21, 2010

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The U.S. Embassy warned Friday that terrorist groups may have “established links” to a high-class catering company in Pakistan that a security official said is owned by a suspect arrested over the failed car bombing in Times Square.

In an unusual e-mail message to U.S. residents in Pakistan, the embassy said U.S. government personnel had been instructed to avoid using the Hanif Rajput Catering Service, a well-known firm often used by foreign embassies in Islamabad. The U.S. embassy said the suspicions about the catering company have been shared with Pakistan government agencies.

The message said Rajput was owned Rana Ashraf Khan and his son Salman Ashraf.

Earlier this week, a senior security official said that one of at least two people arrested in Pakistan over links to a Pakistani-American detained in connection with the failed Times Square car bombing was called Salman Ashraf. He identified him as the son of the owner of Rajput catering service.

The officer spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.

A man who answered the phone at Rajput declined to comment on the allegations made by the U.S. Embassy.

A biography on the Rajput website said Salman Ashraf Khan studied in Houston before returning home to help run the family business. It said Rana Ashraf Khan worked for Pakistan International Airlines for 20 years and then started the catering firm.

Rajput cooks for large parties, providing food, cutlery and grand tents at embassy compounds and the homes of the well-to-do in Islamabad and other cities.

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