The Mumbai attack 2008 is being linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed.
But documents unearthed in Abbotabad when Osama Bin Laden was killed indicated Bin Laden having played a key role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008, in spite of having been dead since around 2001.(?)
The evidence points to Bin Laden having played a key role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008, in spite of having been dead since around 2001.
All this was unearthed by US Special Forces in May 2011 when they were involved in an incident at a CIA safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and took back bagfuls of documents and computer equipment.
According to Bruce Riedel, Pakistan terrorism expert and former advisor to Barack Obama, “The documents and files found in Abbottabad showed a close connection between Bin Laden and Saeed, right up to May 2011.
ndian home minister P Chidambaram has welcomed the news.
He did not mention the planner of the Mumbai attacks, David Headley, who worked for the US Drugs Enforcement Administration, which works closely with the CIA.
Slamming the US, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed told Mossad’s Al-Jazeera: “I think the US is frustrated because we are carrying out countrywide protests against the resumption of Nato supplies and drone strikes.”
Riedel said the Abbottabad information also “suggested a much larger role by (the CIA’s) al Qaeda in the planning of the Mumbai attacks than many assumed.”
He said the US now has evidence that Bin Laden may have seen the reconnaissance reports of David Headley, allegedly the CIA’s scout for the 26/11 attacks.
Indian experts on Lashkar have pointed out the relationship between the outfit and the CIA, and ISI, has been known for years.
A double agent masterminded the Islamist terrorist attack on Mumbai that killed 166 people in 2008 while he was being used by the CIA to hunt Osama bin Laden.
When India discovered his role, it accused Washington of having sacrificed Mumbai for the prime target of the al-Qaeda leader.
David Headley, a former drug smuggler, was acting as a “highly prized counterterrorism asset” for America, according to former officers in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, who said his covert career had run for 11 years.
Headley had proposed the Mumbai attack in an effort to win the confidence of the leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a banned Pakistani Islamist organisation with connections to al-Qaeda.
He conceived the operation, visited Mumbai seven times to reconnoitre the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and other targets, and provided supplies and GPS co-ordinates for the 10 Pakistani gunmen who took part.
India was traumatised by the three-day attack on its commercial capital in November 2008 when the gunmen rampaged through Mumbai’s streets and hotels, killing and wounding more than 300 people.
US-Indian relations fell to an all-time low after Indian intelligence uncovered Headley’s activities. Irate officials claimed that Headley’s American controllers had allowed the plot to go ahead in order to safeguard his key role in the hunt for the al-Qaeda leader.
The CIA responded that it had repeatedly warned India of the impending assault. In a furious exchange it accused its counterparts in Delhi of “incompetence”.
At Headley’s trial in Washington this year the judge considered the death penalty but the prosecution opposed it on the grounds that he had provided “unusual co-operation”. He was sentenced to 35 years.
The true extent of Headley’s co-operation has never been revealed. During the trial the impression was given that he had begun to reveal secrets about his jihadist life after his arrest in Chicago in 2009.
What my sources tell me is that he was an agent of the CIA who turned rogue. He got associated with the drug mafia in Afghanistan which is directly connected to the terror networks which are controlled by the ISI. The Indian Intelligence officials say that despite Headley turning rogue, the CIA did nothing to stop him despite having every possible information on him. They let him get away with what he was doing in Af-Pak. In fact the CIA even knew when he began cozying up to the ISI and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and did nothing really to stop him. Over the years, he became a Lashkar operative which in turn would mean that he had the blessings of the ISI. Being an American national did help him a lot since even the ISI was aware that his entry and exit into India would be easier taking into account his nationality. India, until 26/11 did have an America fixation and never really did check on the antecedents of a person holding an American passport.
Do you feel that at some level, Indian intelligence was involved in the facilitation and or cover up of the Mumbai attacks?
I would not agree with this entirely. Although I do believe that they could have issued the alerts to the Bombay police with more seriousness. There was a specific alert that was given to the police in the month of September two months prior to the attack. The alert clearly stated that Bombay would be attacked from the seas. They had even gathered intelligence based on the statements of an operative known as Sabahuddin Ahmed. However the Bombay police chose to ignore the alert. What the Intelligence Bureau could have done is convince the Bombay police about the seriousness of this alert.