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Updated: October 20, 2010 01:21 IST

ISI chiefs aided Mumbai terror attacks: Headley

Jason Burke
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MORE REVELATION: The detained American terrorist David Headley has claimed the Pakistan's intelligence agency was involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
MORE REVELATION: The detained American terrorist David Headley has claimed the Pakistan's intelligence agency was involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

Report into the interrogation of key suspect makes detailed claims of ISI support for the bombings.

Pakistan's powerful intelligence services were heavily involved in preparations for the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008, according to classified Indian government documents obtained by The Guardian.

A 109-page report into the interrogation of key suspect David Headley, a Pakistani-American militant arrested last year and detained in the United States, makes detailed claims of ISI support for the bombings.

Under questioning, Headley described dozens of meetings between officers of the main Pakistani military intelligence service, the ISI, and senior militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

He claims a key motivation for the ISI in aiding the attacks was to bolster militant organisations with strong links to the Pakistani state and security establishment who were being marginalised by more extreme radical groups.

Headley, who undertook surveillance of the targets in Mumbai for the operation, claims that at least two of his missions were partly paid for by the ISI and that he regularly reported to it. However, the documents suggest that supervision of the militants by the ISI was often chaotic and that the most senior officers of the agency may have been unaware at least of the scale and ambition of the operation before it was launched.

European and American security services now fear that the LeT, which has thousands of militants, runs dozens of training camps and has extensive logistic networks overseas, is moving from what has been a largely regional agenda — focussed on Kashmir — to a global agenda involving strikes against the west or western interests. The documents suggest the fierce internal argument within the organisation over its strategic direction is being won by hardliners.

Headley, interviewed over 34 hours by Indian investigators in America in June, described how “a debate had begun among the terrorist outfits” and “a clash of ideology” leading to “splits.”

“The aggression and commitment to jihad shown by several splinter groups in Afghanistan influenced many committed fighters to leave [the LeT],” he said. Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani, told the investigators that the ISI hoped the Mumbai attack would slow or stop growing “integration” between groups active in Kashmir, with whom the agency had maintained a long relationship, and “Taliban-based outfits” in Pakistan and Afghanistan which were a threat to the Pakistani state.

“The ISI... had no ambiguity in understanding the necessity to strike India,” Headley is reported to have said. The aim of the agency was “controlling further split in the Kashmir-based outfits, providing them a sense of achievement and shifting ... the theatre of violence from the domestic soil of Pakistan to India.”

Headley describes meeting once with a “Colonel Kamran” from the military intelligence service and having a series of meetings with a “Major Iqbal” and a “Major Sameer Ali.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2010

It is fairly common knowledge that Pak Army, including its chief, Gen. Kiyani, is solidly behind terrorism in India. What this article in Guardian is trying to do is to exonerate the Pak Army hierarchy of the guilt and responsibilty. Guradian is a regular conduit of British/US secret services. Indian establishment must sit up and ask questions and not assume this news is a bad report on Pakistan.

from:  Hyder Ali
Posted on: Oct 19, 2010 at 21:28 IST

I somehow encouraged myself to read this article. But the question that I have is that even after 2 years of investigation we are still trying to make people believe that Pakistan's baby ISI was involved in this attack. Why don't we raise this point at UN with all the proofs that various investigating agencies have and come up with a judgement and close this chapter once in for all.
Because I believe it really doesn't matter what The Gaurdian or The Hindu or Newyork Times publishes, what matters is that People of Pakistan and Pakistan should realise that there are certain elements in Pakistan which would never ever let the two countries come together.

from:  Praneet Kumar
Posted on: Oct 19, 2010 at 12:03 IST
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