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:
Nov. 29, 2008
Nov. 28, 2008
Nov. 26, 2008
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