Links Between Pakistan and Mumbai Attacks
Indian officials have been saying it all along but now Pakistani officials, too, are pointing to links between last month’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai and the Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba:
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s own investigation of terror attacks in Mumbai has begun to show substantive links between the 10 gunmen and an Islamic militant group that its powerful spy agency spent years supporting, say people with knowledge of the probe.
At least one top leader of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, or “Army of the Pure,” captured in a raid earlier this month in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, has confessed the group’s involvement in the attack as India and the U.S. have alleged, according to a senior Pakistani security official.
The disclosure could add new international pressure on Pakistan to accept that the attacks, which left 171 dead in India, originated within its borders and to prosecute or extradite the suspects. That raises difficult and potentially destabilizing issues for the country’s new civilian government, its military and the spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence — which is conducting interrogations of militants it once cultivated as partners.
Pakistani security officials say a top Lashkar commander, Zarar Shah, has admitted a role in the Mumbai attack during interrogation, according to the security official, who declined to be identified discussing the investigation. “He is singing,” the security official said of Mr. Shah. The admission, the official said, is backed up by U.S. intercepts of a phone call between Mr. Shah and one of the attackers at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the site of a 60-hour confrontation with Indian security forces.
A second person familiar with the investigation said Mr. Shah told Pakistani interrogators that he was one of the key planners of the operation, and that he spoke with the attackers during the rampage to give them advice and keep them focused.
This is still hearsay and quotes from unnamed sources but take it for what it’s worth.
I’m not sure whether the confirmations that are coming out will defuse or inflame the situation between India and Pakistan. On the one hand it certainly looks as though the Islamabad government is pursuing its investigation as it promised and being forthcoming about the results. On the other it confirms the reasons that India blamed the attacks on Pakistan in the first place.
Having followed your series of comments on this subject, and a little research of my own I am settling into a state of pessimism about the Paki/Indian/Afhgan problem. It strikes me as being somewhat as intractible as Israel vs the Arab world.
Pakistan’s fragile leadership structure, their hinds constantly being snapped at by radical Muslim toublemakers, have their hands full.
It will be interesting to see how Bush’s cock-sure critics will react as HRC comes home from trips to the region in need of a good stiff drink and a couple days off after what will no doubt be a series of frustrating and unproductive forays.