Captured Mumbai attacker implicates Pakistani military, intel

The only member of the jihadi assault team captured during the Mumbai attacks has fingered several Pakistani organizations as providing support to the group, according to reports in the Indian press.

Ajmal Amir Kasab, also known as Azam Amir Kasav, was captured by police after a shootout near the docks in southern Mumbai. He was wounded and feigned death but was picked up by police after he was seen breathing.

The siege in Mumbai lasted 62 hours and claimed more than 195 lives. Terror assault teams held the city hostage as they fanned out through the city and attacked policemen, five-star hotels, a train station, a cinema, a cafe, and a residential complex.

Kasab has provided details on how his team of 16 terror commandos departed Karachi, linked up with a freighter carrying arms, hijacked an Indian fishing boat, and infiltrated into Mumbai via inflatable rafts. [See Indian commandos end 62-hour siege of Mumbai.]

Kasab has implicated the Pakistani Navy and the Dawood Ibrahim criminal network based in Karachi for providing assistance and training for the Mumbai assault team, police sources told India Today. The plot to attack Mumbai was hatched more than a year ago, Kasab told police.

According to the police sources, Kasab said 20 Pakistanis began training in terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir more than one year ago. The group trained in the Kashmiri camps “almost five-and-half months, during which the terrorist were taught the use of sophisticated arms and ammunition.”

After the training at the Kashmiri camps, the group was “given a month’s leave and were ordered to gather in Karachi after the break for training in boating, rowing and swimming by the Pakistan Navy.”

The terrorists were then given maps and other information on their targets in Mumbai and trained in attacking the targets, India Today reported. Earlier, Kasab said several members of the assault team visited Mumbai to scout the targets and familiarize themselves with the city.

Kasab also claimed members from Dawood Ibrahim’s criminal network provided logistical support for the Mumbai assault team while they were in Karachi.

Ibrahim runs a vast criminal network throughout South Asia. He has been implicated in the 1993 Mumbai bombings and is known to receive backing by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency. Indian intelligence believes Ibrahim is based out of Karachi.

The US government branded Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2003. Ibrahim “has found common cause with Al Qaeda, sharing his smuggling routes with the terror syndicate and funding attacks by Islamic extremists aimed at destabilizing the Indian government,” the US Treasury stated in a press release. Ibrahim “is known to have financed the activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba,” the group thought to be behind this week’s terror attacks in Mumbai.

Kasab also claimed local resident in Mumbai provided logistical support for the terror assault team, The Times of India reported. The locals provided “help like, providing shelter, taking them around and showing places, passing information on police stations,” the news agency said. The operatives also received fake identification cards.

Some of the terrorists had stayed in Nariman House, the complex that houses Orthodox Jews, Kasab said. The Israelis were targeted “to avenge atrocities on Palestinians,” the paper reported.

Indian intelligence has identified additional links to Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. An “intercepted conversation between Muzammil, Muzaffarabad chief of LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) operations, and a certain Yahya in Bangladesh,” showed a direct link in the Mumbai attacks, The Times of India reported. “Yahya arranged SIM cards, fake ID-cards primarily from western countries like Mauritius, UK, US, Australia.”

Phone numbers on the satellite phone found the hijacked Indian fishing boat show calls were made to Zakir Ur Rehman, a Lashkar-e-Taiba training chief based in Karachi.

Indian intelligence officials also told The Times of India that 25 terrorists were “training in the Pakistan village of Durbari Mitho, and that an ISI agent was also involved in the training.” It is unclear if these were members of the Mumbai assault team.

US intelligence strongly suspects the Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the Mumbai attacks, working in conjunction with the Students Islamic Movement of India and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami, through a front group called the Indian Mujahideen, several senior US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.

Lashkar-e-Taiba has an extensive network in southern and Southeast Asia. The group has vast resources and is able to carry out complex attacks throughout its area of operations.

Lashkar-e-Taiba forces fight alongside al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan. It conducts operations in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Chechnya. Like al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba seeks to establish a Muslim caliphate in southern and Central Asia. The group essentially runs a state within a state of Pakistan.

For more information on the Mumbai attacks, see:

Indian commandos end 62-hour siege of Mumbai

Nov. 29, 2008

Analysis: Mumbai attack differs from past terror strikes

Nov. 28, 2008

India’s financial capital under terror siege

Nov. 26, 2008

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Solomon2 says:

    This matches my theory too closely for me to believe it right away; Indians may be looking at the evidence too quickly and thus in a too-biased fashion, or the prisoner may be playing up to this for his own purposes.
    Regardless of Pakistan’s responsibility, it is vital for the War on Terror for India to lay off the sabre-rattling, or Pakistan will cease fighting the Taliban and shift its efforts to its border with India. The terrorists will have scored a big win, and the ISI will remain unscathed – no one will dare touch it if a war with India is in the works.

  • Mike says:

    If this was a cell attack, the lone survivor may not know who actually ordered the mission as a go, or even who organized it outside of his cell leader.
    This kid is a jihadist who probably may have surmised it was ISI, but may not be able to offer any concrete proof.
    However, Indian intel may be able tp use what he knows to help piece things together.
    Just my .02
    He may just be a dupe who was “honoring” jihad.

  • Vern says:

    The captured terror soldier may have been trained to provide a prepared story, in case of capture. I saw this frequently in Afghanistan. When a PUC/detainee was released from Bagram or Kandahar, they immediately went to the press to report sexual abuse, because that is what their training was. Most of the time when we captured someone, they immediately denied being AQ or Taliban or whatever, they were always innocent villagers caught by mistake, never mind the wounds incurred from the firefight and the Ak in their hands. As well, they were always dupes and thought it was about foreign invaders, Russians and communists. Only the silent hate-filled ones didn’t play that game, it was about Islam and Islam only, it was personal.
    Everything is an IO attack, everything. The moral is to the physical as ten is to one, just like Boney said. And friends, we ain’t even on that battlefield. As I told the guys in 2003, 2004 and 2005, we have ceded that batlespace, and I have yet to see us get into it.
    Thus, this guy may be spouting a line which will be one very easy to accept and thus still serve the ends of LeT et al. It is the old Conrad Dobler ploy, in which the aim is to ease pressure on the FATA.
    Just my opinion.

  • C-Low says:

    Pakistan will have to throw some big fish on the fire to make up for this.
    The Paki Navy implicated is a big deal, Operation Trident 2 anyone?
    Doubt that it will come to that but a sad fact is that the Muslim world especially the Moderate Muslims are going to have to learn the hard way that supporting/allowing radicals comes at a heavy price to all their people including themselves. The German gen pop in the 30’s were decent people but they paid a heavy toll for allowing the radicals growth amongst them. History repeats.

  • Mark says:

    If the Pakistani Navy trained these guys, how could India respond with anything but war?

  • C. Jordan says:

    Vern: “The captured terror soldier may have been trained to provide a prepared story, in case of capture. I saw this frequently in Afghanistan.”
    My thoughts exactly… they wouldn’t have done all this work thinking that they would all die. Surly the “Higher-ups” would bet on the fact that at least one would be captured alive…
    Vern: “…to ease pressure on the FATA”
    Spot on

  • Trey says:

    “Pakistan Navy”
    This could mean anything…or could be made to mean anything. Nobody should be surprised that LeT swim camp would include councelors with Pakistani Naval ties. Very different from a Pakistani Navy program. Sounds to me like cya spin from embarrassed Indians.

  • JusCruzn says:

    Gee I thought all these hirabi’s always wanted to fight to the death. How could this guy have slipped up like that and allowed himself to be captured. Did his AK fall just a little too far out of reach when he was shot? If they are going to follow up on fighting to the death there is no need for a prepared statement on who sent or trained them. Nothing seems to fit here, and I still smell a rat. After reading Steve Coll’s ghost wars though no one needs to convince me just how corrupt the ISI is or also some of the PAK military. I pity the intel people that are going to have to figure this one out. Still there is probably some degree of truth in what this captured guy has said, how much remains to be seen.

  • TomP says:

    To me, this story also sounds too much like what Indian intel would like to believe happened. The kid is almost certainly being tortured and will probably agree with whatever story is proposed to him. It’s a shame they couldn’t capture a few more.

  • Bob W. says:

    I wrote a little bit about a superior response by a city to an armed band

    David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/01/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • GME says:

    I agree with Vern about this jihadist being coached to say what he did.
    But the public rage in India needs an outlet. If U.S. strategists were smart, they would join with India to persuade Pakistan to continue its counterinsurgency in FATA, clean out the ISI once and for all, and open all AQ / Taliban compounds as live targets for NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Perhaps those kinds of actions might placate the Indian public.
    Otherwise the enemy has again succeeded in its tactics.

  • Derek says:

    “If you get caught, blame Pakistan.”
    These statements seem like an obvious attempt to implicate Pakistan as much as possible, so as to make any Pakistan/Indian cooperation less likely. Fringe groups thrive on chaos, war and division. The last thing any fringe terrorist group would want would be some joint Pakistan, Indian, and US “War on Terror,” especially if they have received funding from the Pakistan Intelligence Community.
    Side note – I’m tired of hearing how “well trained” these guys were. They look like a bunch of Versace wearing spoiled children who learned how to shoot an AK, a very simple weapon, and throw grenades at completely SOFT targets.

  • Marlin says:

    Whoops! Maybe I was too quick too accept the Indian allegations against the Pakistanis.

    For the past three days Pakistani intelligence agents and police have been combing this sleepy village in search of clues to the identity of the lone gunman captured in the Mumbai terror attacks, residents said on Monday.
    Indian officials and news media officials identified him variously as Ajmal Amir Kamal, Azam Amir Kasav, or Azam Ameer Qasab, and Indian news media quoted police as saying that the alleged killer’s home village was in Faridkot, near the city of Multan in the southern part of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
    Local residents, however, are bewildered and alarmed. They said there was no one of that surname in this village, and no missing resident who fit the pictures and description shown in the Indian news media.

    McClatchy: Search for Mumbai gunman’s roots only deepens mystery

  • Solomon2 says:

    Excellent McClatchy story. Thank you, Marlin.


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