Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives directly linked to Mumbai

A Lashkar-e-Taiba leader in Pakistani custody admitted to his role in last month’s terror assault in the Indian city of Mumbai, Pakistani sources told The Wall Street Journal. The confession comes as the US and UK provided recordings of another senior Lashkar leader speaking to one of the Mumbai terrorists during the operation.

The November terror assault in Mumbai was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba. The attack was plotted in Pakistan and lasted for more than 60 hours and resulted in more than 170 people killed.

Zarar Shah, “is singing,” a Pakistani official involved with the interrogation told the newspaper. Shah is the Lashkar-e-Taiba communications expert who set up the network that allowed the Mumbai terrorists to speak with Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders in Pakistan during the attack. He also serves as a key liaison between the terror group and Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency. Pakistani police detained Shah earlier this month during raids on Lashkar’s offices and train camps.

Shah admitted to being a key planner in the Mumbai assault and “spoke with the attackers during the rampage to give them advice and keep them focused.” He also confirmed that the 10 Mumbai terrorists “spent at least a few weeks in Karachi, a crowded Arabian Sea port, training in urban combat to hone skills they would use in their assault.”

Shah’s admission matches Indian evidence on Lashkar’s role in the Mumbai assault that was provided to Pakistan. India turned over intercepted communications between Shah and the Mumbai terrorists as well as information from the interrogations of several Lashkar terrorists in custody.


Sabauddin Ahmed.

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only Mumbai terrorist captured by Indian police, admitted his 10-man team trained in Lashkar camps in Pakistan with the support of the Inter-Service Intelligence agency and launched their attack from the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Sabauddin Ahmed and Fahim Ansari, two other Lashkar operatives detained earlier this month, also confirmed elements of Shah and Kasab’s account.

Meanwhile, the United States is pressuring Pakistan to turn over Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, the military commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Dawn reported. The US has provided Pakistan with communications intercepts between Lakhvi and the Mumbai terrorists. Lakhvi was also detained by Pakistani police during the sweeps against Lashkar offices and camps.

Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.

Immediately after the Mumbai attack, Indian police recovered a satellite phone with a number that was directly traced to Lakhvi in Muzaffarabad. Indian intelligence also intercepted conversations between Yusuf Muzammil, a senior Lashkar operative and the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan rejects Indian, US, and UK evidence

Pakistan has rejected the evidence of Lashkar’s complicity in Mumbai that was turned over by India, the US, and the UK. Pakistani officials said the information is “inadmissible in court,” Dawn reported. “They said that since the confessions had been obtained under severe pressure by the Indians, this could not be admissible in judicial process. They have insisted that the information provided would not stand scrutiny in any court.”

But Pakistan has been duplicitous in the investigation of Kasab’s nationality, refusing to admit he is even a Pakistani despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Pakistan’s position on Kasab, which US intelligence views as “incontrovertible,” has frustrated US officials.


Ajmal Amir Kasab, outside the train station in Mumbai during the November terror attack.

Since the Mumbai attack, Pakistan’s president, prime minister, and national security advisor have said evidence on Kasab’s nationality was insufficient. “Have you seen any evidence to that effect,” President Asif Ali Zardari said when asked if Kasab was a Pakistan during a BBC interview in mid-December. “I have definitely not seen any real evidence to that effect.”

Yesterday, National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani refused to admit Kasab was a Pakistani citizen. “Could be,” Durrani said when asked if Kasab was a Pakistani citizen. “I am not saying more than that because we don’t have, I hate to say this we don’t have proof.”

But Pakistan has been given proof of Kasab’s nationality. Kasab himself admitted he is from Pakistan and submitted a request for consular access. The request is “under review” by Pakistan’s foreign office.

Kasab’s father and neighbors were interviewed by Pakistani television and news outlets and confirmed he was indeed from Pakistan. His own father identified him and provided a nearly identical account of his son’s background as Kasab gave to Indian intelligence. “This is the truth,” Kasab’s father told a Pakistani news outlet. “I have seen the picture in the newspaper. This is my son Ajmal.”

Pakistan’s response was to attempt to bury the information. Security forces cordoned the village, removed Kasab’s family from their home and moved someone else in, and forced the townspeople to retract their statements.

“This is absurd, Pakistan can’t even admit one of their citizens was behind the attack,” a senior intelligence official told The Long War Journal. “Pakistan can defuse tensions with India by admitting to some basic facts, but instead they are playing legal games. They know damned well Kasab is a Pakistan, and they also know Mumbai was a LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) operation. Pakistan is rubbing the Mumbai attack in the face of India.”

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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  • Charles says:

    If Zarar Shah is singing, who is listening?

  • D. Duke says:

    You know how easy it is to admit to anything in Indian Jail as ABC.

  • Solomon2 says:

    We now have to seriously consider applying economic sanctions to Pakistan. Never mind the little things like food and fuel. I’m talking about the important stuff: bourbon, scotch, Rolls-Royces, and Viagra. If that doesn’t work after six weeks, I’d toss in cigarettes. How long will the Pakistani ruling classes last without their favorite pleasures?

  • KW64 says:

    What would happen if the ISI was listed as a known terrorist organization?

  • jayc says:

    Perhaps the Pakistanis should take heed of the old Chinese saying, “The biggest fool is the liar who believes his own lies.”

  • Raven says:

    Solomon2: Thanks for the humor. I would add Bollywood movies as well!.
    KW64: On adding ISI to terrorist list, India should be the first first country, though they need international support, to unilaterally do this. But I am sure Pakistan will change ISI name and let it operate under another 3 letter acronym like PAK or something to that effect. ISI for sure has many mothers to nurture them.

  • Neo says:

    Just wait, Zarar Shah is going to make a circus out of this.
    I suspect Zarar Shah and his collaborators will willingly tell the Pakistani government everything and dare them to do anything about it. In their mind they have acted in full accordance with Gods law and the Pakistani state has absolutely no standing or jurisdiction. Their actions are completely justifiable as jihad against the infidel. Any Pakistani government employee that dares participate in the secular legal process against them risks assassination.

  • Marlin says:

    What’s going on here? A whitewash?

    According to the FBI team which visited Fareedkot, which India claims is the area of residence of Ajmal Kasab, no evidence could be collected from the area which could confirm the claim of Ajmal Kasab’s being Pakistan national.

    Geo TV: Ajmal Kasab has no link to Pakistan: FBI
    Also I thought GEO TV had more integrity than to print something like this.

    It may be mentioned here that Indian authorities had alleged that Ajmal Kasab belonged to Fareedkot, a Pakistani area. However, there has been no evidence proving the Indian claim that Ajmal Kasab is Pakistan national.

    Geo TV: 5-member FBI team visits Fareedkot

  • sanman says:

    No evidence linking Qasab to Pakistan??
    The perp’s own family was interviewed by international media in Faridkot, as well as by Pakistani media. The father said he certainly recognized his own son. Later on, Pakistani security men went to the family’s house and cordoned it off, allowing no further media interviews.
    Is Marlin a Pakistani?

  • darkage says:

    The Geo reporter must obviously have been drunk on the scotch, bourbon etc, as is evident from the slur in the language of the report.
    Sanctions are inevitable. But they won’t stop the flow of their goodies for all this stuff is smuggled in from dubai.
    Anyway, what will be more effective is if you kill off all their cattle, sheep and goats and choke off the supply of their meat. Awful thought, as an animal lover, but they are all headed for the slaughter-house anyway! Or else, tomorrow, we are….just like the victims, of these barbarians, who were at their dinner tables in Bombay or Islamabad.
    KW64’s point of listing ISI is a smart and forward-thinking idea, which probably would also have the support of most Pakistanis! I bet Bush is still regretting not bombing Pakistan back into the stone age, 7yrs ago. We can’t afford another 7yrs as long as this war might prove to be. Sharper shooting in this Wild West is going to have to be the order of the day, and the night! Pakistan needs to be saved from its schizophrenic self, does it not?

  • Marlin says:

    No, I’m a red-blodded American!`

  • Marlin says:

    It seems Geo TV may have had some bad sources. This article seems a little more realistic.

    (In Islamabad, however, the Interior Ministry did not confirm the reported visit by an FBI team to Faridkot.
    “It is not in the knowledge of the Interior Ministry and the Punjab government,”

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Marlin, With Geo, like with most outlets, you have to be discriminating. Stories like that are rare, but stick out like a sore thumb.

  • Agent Moulder says:

    The root cause of where we are today vis-a-vis terrorism is that we treat Pakistan in a civilized manner. Its long past when the world should have started treating them for what they are : rogues and thugs of the first order. Why can’t we have a allout war – NATO and allies attack from west and India does the rest from the east.


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