Posted by Curt on 3 December, 2008 at 10:40 am. 13 comments already!


The WSJ reports that the leader of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba is behind the attacks in Mumbai:

India has accused a senior leader of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of orchestrating last week’s terror attacks that killed at least 172 people here, and demanded the Pakistani government turn him over and take action against the group.

Just two days before hitting the city, the group of 10 terrorists who ravaged India’s financial capital communicated with Yusuf Muzammil and four other Lashkar leaders via a satellite phone that they left behind on a fishing trawler they hijacked to get to Mumbai, a senior Mumbai police official told The Wall Street Journal. The entire group also underwent rigorous training in a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, the official said.

And guess who gave them that “rigorous training?”:

As evidence of the militants’ links to Pakistan mounted, Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Ghafoor said ex-Pakistani army officers trained the group — some for up to 18 months — and denied reports the men had been planning to escape the city.

‘‘It appears that it was a suicide attack,’’ Ghafoor said, providing no other details about when the gunmen left Karachi, or when they hijacked the trawler.

The revelations came as a senior U.S. official said India received a warning from the United States that militants were plotting a waterborne assault on Mumbai. The Bush administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of intelligence information, would not elaborate on the timing or details of the U.S. warning.

And not surprisingly, Pakistan is refusing to hand over anyone India says is involved in the attack:

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari rejected India’s demand that Islamabad hand over some 20 suspects, believed to be in Pakistan, saying: “If we had proof, we would try them in our courts. We would try them in our land and we would sentence them.” Zardari said that he doubted India’s claim that the sole surviving terrorist in the Mumbai terror attacks, who was captured by Indian security forces, was a Pakistani.

“We have not been given any tangible proof to say that he is definitely a Pakistani. I very much doubt that he’s a Pakistani,” he said, appearing on Larry King Live programme on CNN on Tuesday night.

The president has strongly denied his country’s involvement in the audacious attacks in Mumbai, saying the terror strikes in the India’s financial capital were executed by the “stateless actors” who wanted to hold the “entire world hostage.” Zardari also ruled out any possibility of Pakistan and India going to war, saying “democracies do not go to war”.

Meanwhile India police discovered a bomb among the luggage left behind in the attack:

Police in Mumbai found explosives Wednesday hidden in a bag left behind last week at the city’s train station at the start of a three-day rampage by Islamist militants.

While searching 150 bags at the station, police found one that looked suspicious and called the bomb squad. They found two bombs of 8.8 pounds each inside and defused them, said Assistant Commissioner of Police Bapu Domre.

Weird that it took them this long to search the bags but I can only imagine the chaos going on in that city at the moment.

And finally, the US is sending signals that it will back India in any attack against Pakistan if that country does not root out the terrorists responsible:

The United States has set the stage for punitive internationally-backed strikes by India against terrorist camps in Pakistan if Islamabad does not act first to dismantle them by rejecting President Zardari’s alibi that non-state actors were responsible for the last week’s carnage in Mumbai.

The game-changer, outlined by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among others, robs Islamabad of the fig leaf that Zardari used in his interview on Larry King Live that ”stateless actors” are holding the whole world hostage and Pakistan was not to blame. Rice said in effect that the excuse does not absolve Pakistan responsibility for terrorist acts that originate from its territory,“ Rice said.

Although US officials have not outright approved immediate punitive Indian strikes against terrorist targets in Pakistan, it is clear Rice has bought time for Islamabad to prove its bonafides. Pakistan has a ”special responsibility” and needs to act ”urgently” she said, even as India has indicated it will wait for a Pakistani response to its demands before any punitive action.

In Washington, experts pressed the administration to expand the scope of punitive strikes to an international level to avoid making it an India-Pakistan issue, particularly since the death toll included citizens of ten countries.

And as Scott noted a few days ago, Obama is backing that decision.

While it is sad that India was attacked, backing India when we need Pakistan cooperation (behind the scenes of course) in rooting out those who have attacked us, and plan to attack us again, is not the smartest thing to do.

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