Mumbai handlers in Pakistan cheer after ordering murders over phone

The Pakistan-based handlers of the Mumbai terrorists ordered the murders of civilians over the phone and cheered after hearing the gunfire, according to the dossier of evidence India provided to the Pakistani government.

The documents, obtained by the Indian newspaper The Hindu, provide a cold, calculating, and chilling look at the masterminds behind the late November military-style assault on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai. More than 170 people were killed and hundreds wounded during the 60-hour terror spree that shut down the city. The Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based terror group allied with al Qaeda and supported by powerful elements within Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency and the military, carried out the attack.

Six Pakistani handlers monitored the news coverage from Mumbai and kept in constant touch with the terrorists holed up in Nariman House and the Taj Mahal and Trident hotels during the three-day siege. The handlers are identified as Zarar, Kafa, Wassi, Jundal, Buzurg, and “Major General.”

Zarar has been identified as Zarar Shah, 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 served as a key liaison between the terror group and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Zarar is currently in Pakistani custody and has admitted to his role in the Mumbai attacks.

The identities of the other handlers have not been provided, but India has accused elements within Pakistan’s intelligence service and the military of supporting the attack. The identification of one handler as “Major General” implies the involvement of a current or former military officer. The Inter-Services Intelligence agency is a branch of the Pakistani military. The ISI chief and Army corps commanders achieve the rank of Major General or Lieutenant General.


Former ISI chief Hamid Gul.

A senior US military intelligence official familiar with the dossier said that the “Major General” is indeed Hamid Gul, the retired former chief of the ISI. “It’s Gul,” the official told The Long War Journal. “This is why the US is trying to get him on the UN list of terrorists.” In December 2008 the US attempted to get Hamid Gul and other former military and intelligence officials added to the UN list of designated terrorists but has so far been rebuffed.

The Pakistan-based handlers provided real-time intelligence and directed the terrorists to kill specific hostages.

The exchange between Mumbai terrorists Fahadullah and Abdul Rehman operating at the Trident Hotel and their Pakistani handlers provides a terrifying look at the thinking of the masterminds behind the attack. The exchange shows they planned and executed the attack for maximum media coverage, ordered the murder of hostages, and cheered after the murders were carried out.

“Brother Abdul. The media is comparing your action to 9/11,” one unidentified handler said. “One senior police official has been killed,” the handler said, referring to the chief of the Anti-Terrorism Squad killed in an earlier gunfight.

“We are on the10th/11th floor,” Abdul Rehman responded. “We have five hostages.”

“Everything is being recorded by the media,” the handler identified as Kafa told Rehman. “Inflict the maximum damage. Keep fighting. Don’t be taken alive.”

“Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims,” the other handler told Rehman and Fahadullah. “Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.”

“We have three foreigners, including women,” Fahadullah said. “From Singapore and China.”

“Kill them,” the handler said.

According to the dossier, Abdul Rehman and Fahadullah are recorded ordering all of the hostages except for two Muslims to stand in line. The terrorists then shot and killed the hostages.

The handlers are heard cheering in the background. Kafa then orders the Trident-based terrorists to “find the way to go downstairs.”

In another exchange, also during the early morning of November 27, one of the terrorists operating from the Taj informed his handler that senior Indian political leaders were in the hotel. The handler excitedly orders the terrorist to find them.

“There are three ministers and one secretary of the cabinet in your hotel. We don’t know in which room,” a handler said.

“Oh! That is good news,” a terrorist responded.

“It is the icing on the cake! Find those 3-4 persons and then get whatever you want from India,” the handler said.

“Pray that we find them,” the terrorist responded.

In a separate call, also to the Taj-based terrorists, the handler reiterates the importance of finding the ministers and orders the terrorists to set the hotel ablaze.

“Your work is very important,” the handler said. “Allah is helping you. The wazir (Indian minister) should not escape. Try and set the place on fire.”

In the early evening of November 27, the handler identified as Wassi instructs the terrorists at Nariman House to kill the hostages as soon as they become a “burden” and hoped to create a diplomatic row between Israel and India. Nariman House is an orthodox Jewish center.

“Keep in mind that hostages are of use only as long as you do not come under fire because of their safety,” Wassi said. “If you are still threatened, then don’t saddle yourself with the burden of the hostages. Immediately kill them.”

“The [Indian] Army claims to have done the work without any hostage being harmed,” Wassi then said, referring to the commandos deployed to rescue the hostages. “Another thing: Israel has made a request through diplomatic channels to save the hostages. If the hostages are killed, it will spoil relations between India and Israel.”

“So be it, God willing,” one of the terrorist at Nariman House responded.

Click here to read the Indian dossier obtained by The Hindu.

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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  • jayc says:

    “So be it, God willing.” Wow.

  • anand says:

    Wow! Pause. . . . . I am floored.
    Thanks for the report Bill. What is the solution to this dilemma? What should India, America, and the rest of the international community do?
    In the short term?
    In the long term?

  • T Ruth says:

    Thanks for your incisive report Bill.
    Pure savagery this, including a Major General! Its this factor that makes the Pak govt dragging its feet look all the more incredulous. And this incredulity that is all the more chilling when you think that this country is armed with nuclear weapons.
    Also, is not Paks attempt to cover-up Kasab’s nationality, a clear sign of State complicity? So its not just non-state actors (NSA’s) here.
    Now, here’s the math:
    NSA + WMD = So be it, God willing!

  • Animals. If the current Pakistani Government really wants peace with India (which I doubt), then they will round up all of the conspirators in this operation and execute them. They need to do this fast, and I mean real fast. If they don’t, India is not going to let this go. They seem to have lots of evidence of ISI complicity in this and if the Pakistani government doesn’t act quickly India will. Pakistan is running out of time and they have to decide, once and for all, if they are going to be run by Muslim fanatics or by a sane secular government. If they don’t decide soon, I fear India will take matters into their own hands. And who could blame them? Americans would never stand for this if it happened here, so why should India?

  • T Ruth says:

    Libertyship, agree with all you say.
    would add:
    -sane govt, hopefully IF they are capable of annihalating their monsters.
    -secular, impossible coz its not even part of their charter…officially its the ISLAMIC GOVT OF PAKISTAN. After the separation, they stated out as an ostensibly secular state, but that didn’t last long.
    -most importantly, Pakistan is either unwilling or unable to do the job itself as is obvious from their state of denial. Strategically it becomes imperative for the US/NATO to join hands with India (and hopefully this is already being discussed behind the scenes). If Russia joins in too, we have a chance to build a new coalition, if not a new world order.
    Russia has had nukes for decades, but frankly one never felt so unsafe as now with nukes in the hands of a lying, deceptive, reckless, failed and friendless Pakistan.

  • Raven says:

    I would like to think that Pak does not have a nuke bomb but may have few loaners from China. This is just a hunch…
    If the world’s leading nations have let Pak still have that option open, may be all the leaders will share some responsibility when something goes wrong, not just Pak, for letting a self-delusional drunkard with a gun to openly walk on the international main street. These Talibanis are at the main street gate right now knocking…

  • Mr T says:

    Perhaps the Government officials denying P-stan involvement were also cheering the news of the attack.

  • jack says:

    Sigh. Praise the Lord for Sandra Samuel on that one then.

  • tyrone says:

    My sense is that the Pakistani govt is in denial because if they are not in denial, then they have to do something about it. They are furiously trying (IMO) to buy time to prevent a civil war between the govt and the radicals. What they possibly don’t recognize is that the water they are swimming in is being heated a degree at the time, and they are soon going to have to do something or it will start boiling and it will be too late. I see the Pakistani govt as between a rock and hard place with no good options. Heck they don’t even have control over their own intelligence agency, at least not all of it. And that about says it … their options are limited because there is so little strength at the center. It is like Somalia except 5x better. Too bad, because a couple of years ago, it was like Somalia except 10x better. Slowly sliding towards chaos. And still viewing India as an enemy, not realizing the bigger enemy is in the Northwest, the Indian enemy is just a dispute over a little territory, really. The radicals would destroy Pakistan if given the chance. Of course working with India, on anything, would be a bit like the popularity of the US working with Russia at the height of the cold war … that is the problem. Perception. The radicals have done a pretty good job of propaganda and orchestrating crisis after crisis to make the gov’t look bad.

  • Blog Smith says:

    You read this chilling account and wonder why the MSM can not state that the terrorists are Muslims.

  • KW64 says:

    At the present time, the Democratic government can’t deal with India honestly without alienating a lot of the domestic supporters they will need to stay in power in the face of the Islamist rebellion. Hopefully, India can manage to hold off attacking until the civil war in Pakistan starts to sort itself out.
    If it looks like the Taliban are defeating the Democratically elected civilian government, maybe India must step in to prevent an Islamic state with nukes from being established on their border. The Pakistani army may be reluctant to nuke Indian troops while they are losing to the radical Islamists. I just hope the army does not go over to the Taliban and take their nukes with them.
    If on the other hand, the Democrats are winning over the Islamists, India can hope to find a rational negotiating partner down the road.

  • elixelx says:

    We know, of course, that the Israelis took casualties during the Lebanon war in 2006 because Hezbollah were monitoring live battlefield reports being sent by CNN and BBC.
    And now it becomes obvious that these violators of their female progenitors were also playing the Mumbai battlefield based on real time info provided by CNN and BBC!
    And these same two MSM aiders and abetters of all things terrorist now have the nerve to complain that the Israelis are not allowing them into Gaza!
    Regrettably this will be the handcuffs placed on the free movement of troops in any forthcoming conflicts!

  • Neo says:

    “My sense is that the Pakistani govt is in denial because if they are not in denial, then they have to do something about it. They are furiously trying (IMO) to buy time to prevent a civil war between the govt and the radicals.”

  • drexel says:

    The extreme abhorrent nature of this attack generates a profound sense of foreboding. One cannot help but feel that a seminal event is about to occur.
    It is frightening to think about the potential extent of the eventual blow-back that is looming out there.
    My hunch is that this will not be a business as usual response.
    Be very afraid Pakistan.

  • Trident says:

    India has to act. Certain Pakistani leaders probably want to act, but can’t. If India doesn’t, nobody will.
    And here is yet further evidence of the media calculation of all these terrorists. They know exactly what the western media is and how it will respond. And they’re right. But perhaps we’ve finally turned a corner, in that more and more western people (and I include India, or at least the Indian middle class, in the west) may finally be starting to catch on.

  • Curt says:

    I don’t understand the logic of “If the hostages are killed, it will spoil relations between India and Israel.” How is Pakistani terrorists killing Jews in India going to ruin relations between Israel and India? It will only strengthen relations between Israel and India since both countries share the suffering of what happened.

  • jack says:

    The logic would be that media coverage would give the impression that Israel’s official plea to save their people wasn’t a high priority to the Indians. It didn’t work out that way.

  • amr says:

    There was a time before we became so PC in warefare where such people were taken out, but those days are gone. When in a fight for your survival, which most in the West don’t believe we are in, you cannot play by the same rules you apply to civil authorities unless you want to die and take your culture down with you. Those revolutionay terrorists in 1776 realised that and fought as Native Americans did from behind trees instead of marching into musket fire from the British forces.

  • Neo says:

    It seems that Hamid Gul is increasingly asserting himself as the central figure in the Pakistani Islamist movement. This attack against India works on multiple levels for Hamid Gul’s faction within the Pakistani ISI.
    1. It effectively ends the ongoing peace process between Pakistan and India, and essentially puts both nations on a wartime footing, at the verge of becoming a shooting war.
    2. It deeply embarrasses the Pakistani civilian government and underlines the tenuous control the government has over major segments of the Pakistani military and security apparatus.
    3. The Pakistani civilian government now finds it next to impossible to conduct any sort of meaningful foreign policy or dealings now that major segments of the Pakistani security apparatus are openly pursuing their own hostile agenda.
    4. This major act of international terrorism openly challenges the civilian government’s ability to rule over its own governing apparatus. Different political interests have carved out their own fiefdoms and spheres of influence within the governing bureaucracy.
    5. Such a brazen act positions Hamid Gul as a leading force within the Islamist movement and draws other factions toward him. Hamid Gul seems to be the go-to-man among those actively working to undermine the Pakistani civilian government.
    I’m not quite sure that Hamid Gul has yet positioned himself as the central leader with regards to the various armed factions within the movement. It does seem though that he can directly assert himself over a large segment of Pakistan’s security and governing apparatus, along with an ongoing attempt to reassert his influence within the Taliban.
    How much unofficial authority Hamid Gul has gathered around himself, is a question that is up for debate. The various factions within the Islamist movement don’t seem to lend themselves to organized leadership. I would place Hamid Gul as a leading conspirator within a rather unruly universe of dangerous factions. Rather than picture him as the man behind the scenes pulling all the levers of power, I might liken Hamid Gul to the black hole at the middle of a very chaotic game of asteroids.

  • bard207 says:

    Pakistan was not open minded and reluctant to examine the possibility of Kasab being from Pakistan. They denied, denied and denied that he was from Pakistan, then they finally admitted that he was. There were reports that the Pakistani establishment (ISI and/or Army and/or regular government) were busy trying to wipe out any evidence that Kasab was from Pakistan during the entire time that the public denials were being issued.
    They allowed themselves to be cornered on that issue and it has been a disaster for their credibility.
    The termination of Durrani for speaking about the Kasab – Pakistan connection is another glimpse into the way that Pakistan plans & thinks.
    I read a Pakistani BBS for 15 – 20 minutes every day and the POV exhibited there would be surprising to many here at The Long War Journal. Some of the BBS members could be standins for the Pakistani controllers that were directing the Mumbai attacks.
    So, I am not surprised that the Pakistanis allowed themselves to be cornered with the recordings.

  • Neo says:

    That’s a good one Aaron!
    “Oh please give me a break. Honestly. This entire transcript could have been written better by a two bit porn writer.”

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Just a friendly reminder. Comments such as Aaron’s will be deleted as soon as I or DJ see it. Just ignore it, it doesn’t dignify a response, and we’re not going to allow the comments section to be dragged down to that level.

  • kannan says:

    Just like V Prabhakaran, the LTTE leader was sentenced by an Indian court to death in absentia, all these six should be put on trial and sentenced to death.

  • JusCruzn says:

    The former head of the ISI was one of the handlers of the murdering thugs. I think that is a pretty clear indicator of the ISI’s position and practices! Dismantle the ISI now!

  • Rb says:

    Wishful sentiments about India doing something fail to take account that India is the ultimate soft state that cannot act to save its own life. The Indian state is more concerned about protecting its muslim minority, and what the West thinks, than to do anything concrete to defend its own citizens. Both the Congress party and the opposition BJP have no core principles, while the Communists and other third parties in India are even more unprincipled and anti-national. In the mean time, Pakistan uses Islamic precepts of terror (war by just another means) to reenact the first Islamic invasion of the subcontinent; a gigantic holocaust that dwarfs all that since occurred. History repeats itself. “So be it, God willing”

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    When will the ISI be designated “a terror org.?” Its pretty clear wats going on. Why don’t the P-stani’s hand over HAMID GUL? Why is he still breathing? He would be toast and it would be just. I did not know God wanted and approves of moslems killing non-moslems. Wat bothers me is the deafening silence of sane moslems. They have not really spoken out like they can. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are in a war of civilizations. For the islamists, its been on for a long, long time. The West just refuses to admit it, or are just too naive to see it as it really is.

  • NS says:

    You are so right on the money that i have to ask this question -are you from India ?
    There are two ways to respond to terrorism – one is the Israeli way and the other is the Indian way.
    Actually scratch that – India does not respond AT ALL – we still have normal trade relations with a terrorist nation state – we still have the Pakistani embassy operating in Indian soil.
    It is one thing to say that a military strike against terror camps in Pakistan is not possible – (actually it is more like India not having the gumption to do it). But it is another thing to continue relations with Pakistan as though nothing has happened.
    To add insult to injury our own Defense minister goes on TV saying that “we wouldnt do what Israel does”. translation – we will not protect our citizens no matter how many terror attacks are staged against us.
    No wonder India gets picked on by Islamic terrorists with impunity.

  • Brian says:

    NS wrote: “There are two ways to respond to terrorism.”
    There is also the Russian way (see Chechnya), which is how muslim terrorism would have been dealt with by the west has it occurred to the west in the 1940s. It seems to have worked for the most part.

  • Receptek says:

    “So be it, God willing.” Wow. hehe that’s a great opinion 🙂


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