Pakistan detains Lashkar-e-Taiba communications expert


Pakistan security services detained another senior Lashkar-e-Taiba operative suspected of being involved in the Mumbai terror attack.

Zarar Shah was one of an estimated 10 to 20 Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives detained during raids on the terror group's offices in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and other locations in Pakistan.

Shah is a communications expert who set up the network that allowed the Mumbai attackers communicate with Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders in Pakistan, according to Indian intelligence officials. He also serves as a key liaison between the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency.

The Mumbai attackers remained in contact with their Lashkar handlers in Pakistan throughout the assault, using cells phones and Thuraya satellite phones, and the Voice over Internet Protocol in order to make it difficult for intelligence services to track the calls.

Shah is the third Lashkar-e-Taiba operative inside Pakistan directly linked to the Mumbai attack. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Lashkar's military commander, has been identified by captured Mumbai attacker Ajmal Amir Kasab as being the primary recruiter for the operation.

Kasab said Lakhvi spent three months in Karachi finalizing the Mumbai operation. Calls from the Mumbai attackers have been traced to Lakhvi. He is currently in Pakistani custody, but Pakistan has no plans to extradite him to India.

Indian officials have also identified Yusuf Muzammil as the mastermind of the Mumbai attack. Muzammil is a senior Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander. He was in contact with a Bangladeshi named Yahya, who helped get the Mumbai terrorists fake deification cards and SIM cards.

Muzammil, along with other senior Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives have "gone to ground," fearing they may be rounded by Pakistani government, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. "We believe other senior Lashkar leaders are involved in the planning and execution of this attack."

Other wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders include Azam Cheema, the commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba's Indian operations branch, known as the Dasta Mohammad bin Qasim; and Abdul Karim, the top field operative in the Lashkar-e-Taiba's Indian operations branch. "I would be surprised if Cheema and Karim were not involved in this attack," the intelligence official said.

Cheema, Karim, and other operatives are feared to have fled to Pakistan's northwest where it will be difficult to capture them, an intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

"Lashkar-e-Taiba has an extensive network throughout Pakistan, and a strong presence in Pakistan's northwest, where they have allied with other terror groups," including the Taliban, al Qaeda, Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami, and Jaish-e-Mohammed, the official said. "The likelihood of them being detained in the tribal areas is poor."

India officials also identified the nine other Mumbai attackers who were killed by Indian security forces [See list below]. All nine terrorists are Pakistani citizens and are believed to be members of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

While Indian officials have maintained that there were only 10 members of the assault team, there is concern that five other terrorists involved in the attack may still be on the loose. Kasab said that 20 other Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters trained for the operations, however the whereabouts of these men is unknown.

Several US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal believe there were more than 10 men involved in the Mumbai assault.

Indian police have also identified five other suspects in the Mumbai attacks. The men likely served as part of the support network for the Mumbai attack.

Police said Fahim Ansari and another man identified as Sabauddin appear to have connections to the attack. Ansari was captured with maps that highlighted several of the locations in Mumbai that were targeted in the assault. Both men were detained in February after attacking a police camp in Uttar Pradesh.

Two other men who are said to have provided the SIM cards used by the Mumbai terrorists were arrested in Kolkata. Police traced several of the SIM cards to Tausif Rehman and Mukhtar Ahmed. One of the men is an undercover policeman.


Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters known to have participated in the Mumbai terror attack [Source: CNN-IBN]:

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)/Victoria Terminus train station

• Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab alias "Abu Mujahid" of Okara village, Punjab Province, Pakistan. Kasab, 21, has been previously identified by Mumbai's police chief. He is the only surviving attacker and is in government custody.
• Ismail Khan alias "Abu Ismail" from Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan

Taj Hotel

• Hafeez Arshad alias "Abdul Rehman Bada" from Multan, Pakistan
• Javed alias "Abu Ali," also from Okara
• Shoaib alias "Soaib" from Narowal Sialkot, Pakistan
• Nazeer alias "Abu Umera" from Faizalabad, Pakistan

Chabad House/Nariman House

• Nasir alias "Abu Umar" also from Faizalabad
• Babbar Imran alias "Abu Aqasha" also from Multan

Hotel Oberoi-Trident

• Abdul Rehman alias "Abdul Rehman Chota" of Arafwala, Multan Road, Pakistan
• Fahadullah alias "Abu Fahad" of Bipalpur Taluka, Okara, Pakistan.



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READER COMMENTS: "Pakistan detains Lashkar-e-Taiba communications expert"

Posted by TEM at December 10, 2008 9:49 PM ET:

A start of doing the right thing on Pakistans part.
The key will be, how long will it last and do they have the will to break the backs and will of the Islamic radical terrorists?
Only time will tell.

I would like to know when the Pakistani's are going to release then close the ultra radical mosque in Karachi? This mosque indoctrinated the London bombers, have indoctrinated around 600 second generation Pakistani -Americans who are back in the US, and they are holding around 30 US citizens against their will.

Enough is enough!

Posted by Srirangan at December 10, 2008 11:01 PM ET:

Pakistan will "arrest" them. Put them in a guest house for a few months, and then either release them or have them "escape" while praying in a mosque.

Posted by IK at December 11, 2008 12:07 AM ET:

Don't forget about letting them eat lunch at McDonalds, and running out the back door!! It's a joke, but one they can play and get away with.

I'm no India expert, but it seems like it's too big, chaotic, and multi-everything to be led. All it takes it a bone or two or a house arrest to platicate the masses, and they go back to something else.

As for the USA, we're just happy that today the Master twist dial lock they have securing their nukes hasn't been opened and they discover something's missing. We'll be happy tomorrow too, so won't want to rock any boats.

What will change it? When what happended yesterday is worse than what might happen tomorrow. That's when we went into Afganistan. When what happened on Sep 11 was worse than what might happen with an invasion. Eventually, the goons will do something that calls the civilized nation's bluff. Where they've done something so evil that we're willing to take whatever risks there are in fighting islamics in their home - Pakistan.

If you've got nothing, you've nothing to lose. And if you've had wildscale murder in your country, then you're willing to take the risk of other evil things happening.

Until that day, expect the usual from the land of the pure.