Pakistan Raids LeT Training Camp – Mumbai Mastermind Captured?

The Guardian was apparently the first to report that the Pakistani authorities have raided a Lashkar-e-Taiba training camp:

The suspected planner of last month’s Mumbai terror attacks has been arrested in a raid on a militant group in Pakistan, an official close to the extremist organisation said today. The official from Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the charity and education arm of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, told Reuters that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was among four men taken into custody after a raid yesterday on a camp outside Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

Lakhvi, one of Lashkar’s operations chiefs, was named as a ringleader in the Mumbai plot by Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving gunmen captured after the attacks, according to Indian officials. “Yes, Lakhvi is among four or five people arrested in a raid yesterday,” the JuD official told Reuters.

There has been no official confirmation of the raid but Pakistani intelligence officers told Reuters six men were arrested. No names were given. The Associated Press reported that more than 12 people were arrested.

The New York Times is reporting the story as though it has been confirmed:

The authorities in Pakistan have raided a camp run by the Pakistani-based militant group suspected by Indian and American officials of conducting the Mumbai attacks, a Pakistani and an American official said.

In the first hours after news of the raid emerged on Pakistani television and in news agencies, a senior Pakistani security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that a man suspected of being the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks had been arrested. But the same official later said that even though about a dozen people had been arrested in the raid at the camp, the suspect, Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, had not been arrested.

The Pakistani military acknowledged the raid, saying in a statement that an operation was underway against a “banned” militant organization, and that there had been a number of arrests. The operation appeared to be Pakistan’s first concrete response to demands by India and the United States that it take action against the suspected attackers.

as is the Washington Post:

Residents in the small Kashmiri town of Shawai Nala said dozens of Pakistani soldiers descended on a camp run by Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a Muslim aid organization suspected of funding the militant Pakistani group Lashkar-i-Taiba, about 3 p.m. Sunday. Mehboob Ahmed, a resident of the nearby city of Muzzaffarabad, the area’s capital, said a Pakistani army helicopter gunship swept over the camp several times just before the ground was rocked by rocket fire and a fusillade of bullets fired by Pakistani forces.

According to local residents and a Jamaat-ud-Dawa member, Pakistani security forces arrested 22 people, including Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhwi, one of at least five Lashkar-i-Taiba members named by Indian authorities as the masterminds behind the brutal Mumbai assault. The attack on India’s financial capital killed more than 170 people and wounded at least 230.

so I guess we’ll have to take reports of the raid as confirmed.

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. I think this is certainly good news for the relationship between Pakistan and India which in turn means its good news for everybody. Another war breaking out between the two fractious and nuclear-armed neighbors would be bad for nearly everybody.

However, I think we should be cautious in not getting out too far in front of the facts. The LeT denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks early on. The only reports that we’ve had of LeT involvement are, to the best of my knowledge, in leaked reports from the Indian government, allegedly gleaned from the interrogation of the sole terrorist they apprehended in those attacks. I have no idea whether any of this is to be believed.

Perhaps the best way to think of this story is as “developing”.

UPDATE (James Joyner): I published a short post myself before seeing that Dave had already done so. We’ve come to rather similar conclusions, perhaps not surprisingly since we hashed this one out on Wednesday’s edition of OTB Radio.

Activists of National Akali Dal hold Pakistan's national flag and shout anti-Pakistan slogans during a protest in New Delhi December 7, 2008. Dozens of activists on Sunday protested against the last week's terror strike in Mumbai. Pakistani security forces have conduced a raid on a major Laskhar-e-Taiba training camp and captured a dozen terrorists, including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, allegedly the mastermind of last month’s Mumbai massacre.

As I note in my New Atlanticist essay, “Mumbai Mastermind Reportedly Captured in Kashmir,” there are still a huge number of known unknowns here.

It does, however, appear that Pakistan is going to have to take action regardless of whether they had anything to do with the attacks.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    It does, however, appear that Pakistan is going to have to take action regardless of whether they had anything to do with the attacks.

    That’s a point that should not be underestimated. I’m not convicned that those in power there are really taking action because it’s the right thing, and instead rather taking action so as to simply make a show of taking action.

    If someone’s offering you money (incentives?) to make a show of taking action….

  2. […] that I wonder if that “prank phone call” didn’t light a fire under Pakistan to find and arrest someone they say was involved with the Mumbai attacks. Don’t go reading too much into this; I’m […]

  3. tom p says:

    The Pakistani Gov’t are between a rock and a hard place. They have to show (to the US, to India) that they can take control of the various situations they are faced with, with out actually being able to

    Sucks to be them.

  4. Bithead says:

    I’m not convinced that’s accurate, in total.
    It strikes me what we’re seeing is enforcement via a wink and a nod, in many cases. Let’s not make the mistake of suggesting that the Pakistani government, or for that matter any government, including our own, is all of one mind.