Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence’s (ISI) involvement in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai exactly two years ago to this day was even greater than is generally believed, portions of jailed Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Headley statements to the National Inves-tigation Agency (NIA) show.
Freshly accessed by HT, the NIA report on the interrogation — conducted in Chicago last June — makes it clear that Headley spied for the ISI.
Headley revealed to the NIA that an officer of the ISI was assigned to train him in the finer aspects of intelligence gathering and subterfuge, before he set off on his repeated recces of potential targets in India.
“The training given by this officer under the guidance of Major Iqbal was much more scientific and effective than the training I received in LeT camps,” he said.
Investigators now believe as far as 26/11 was concerned, the LeT was merely the executive arm of the ISI and Headley was its spy-in-chief.
The ISI officer trained Headley in building sources and handling them.
Another important aspect was how to take cover. After theory lessons, Headley’s trainer, he said, would send him out to the streets of Lahore for practical training.
Major Iqbal provided Headley reading material on India too, which contained several pages stamped ‘Secret’. “I read the material with great interest and tried to follow the instructions there,” Headley said.
Earlier, Headley was trained by the LeT.
In February 2002, he attended ‘Daura-e-Sufa’ for three weeks at the LeT headquarterts in Muridke on the outskirts of Lahore.
In August 2002, Headley joined another three-week LeT training course named Daura-e-Aam. His co-students at the second course included a New Zealander, which confirms that LeT is spreading influence far.
In April 2003, Headley attended a third LeT course called Daura-e-Khasa, where he learnt to use arms and ammunition. Headley confessed he left the course midway as he found it too tough and had problems with his trainer Abu Furqan as well.
Later Headley attended two more LeT courses. But none of them were as effective as the ISI’s, he said