Thursday, February 12, 2009
Pakistan admits Mumbai attacks planned inside its borders
Pakistan's government has admitted that the attacks which killed 179 people in Mumbai were partly planned inside its borders.
Interesting - coinciding with Horlbrooke's visit : )
By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
12 Feb 2009
Rehman Malik, the country's top interior ministry official, confirmed the role of Pakistani militants in plotting and co-ordinating the attacks last November. He said that six suspects had been arrested since the assault including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander accused of being the plot's mastermind.
Two others are being sought in connection with the attacks.
The admission and arrests will calm rising anger in India where senior ministers had accused Pakistani security agencies of some involvement in the attacks. It has been waging a sustained diplomatic campaign to bring pressure on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice.
That pressure intensified significantly earlier this week when India's Congress party leader, Sonia Gandhi, warned Pakistan not to "mistake our patience for weakness" and India's army chief said it was ready to launch "surgical strikes" on Pakistan if necessary.
Mr Malik said Pakistan's response demonstrated its commitment to bringing those responsible to justice. "We want to tell the world we are serious," he said. "We are with India and its people and we have proved this," he added.
The Pakistani investigation had confirmed the involvement of the al-Qaeda-linked LeT terrorist group, and several of the six arrested have reportedly provided key details of how the plot had unfolded. Two of them were key figures in co-ordinating the attacks, said Mr Malik.
Although some of the plotting was carried out in Pakistan, there were other international links, he said. The internet phone calls between the terrorists were set up by a militant operating from Barcelona, who was later lured to Pakistan on a pretext and arrested.
Funds for the attack had been transferred from Italy and Spain, Austrian SIM cards had been used for some of the mobile phones used by the terrorists, and detectives had also uncovered a link to Houston, Texas, he added.
The Barcelona-based militant, Javed Iqbal, had been charged with "cyber-crime" offences, while another man, Hamad Ameen Sadiq, had been charged for transferring the funds for the attacks.
"Some part of the conspiracy has taken place in Pakistan," Mr Malik told a news conference in Islamabad. He said that detectives had identified the places used by the organisers as the launch-pad for the attacks and claimed that some of those arrested had confessed to their involvement. "Some of the accused who have been arrested, they have given us the full rundown," he said.
He confirmed that the sole surviving gunmen, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, was a Pakistani national, but was unable to confirm the identities of the nine others who were shot dead by Indian security forces. He called on India to provide more information to help the Pakistani investigation, including DNA samples of the gunmen, finger prints, and details of Indian SIM cards used.
Pakistan Announces Arrests for Mumbai Attacks (New York Times)
Pakistan says Mumbai attacks partly planned on its soil
Pak admits part of 26/11 plotted on its soil (TOI)
Blinkered vision IE
Which is the real Pakistan? (FT-UK):"Certainly, Islamabad has not offered a coherent response."
Pakistan admits links to Mumbai
Pakistan’s admission gets guarded welcome in India
India should gun for terror camps (India Today)
The jihadist Pak Army is our real headache (India Today)
India scoffs at Pakistani denials