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Lashkar trained him in 2008: FBI

David Coleman Headley, the US national arrested for plotting terrorist attacks in India and Denmark, was trained by the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) — the same Pakistan-based organisation accused of masterminding 26/11. Stavan Desai reports.

mumbai Updated: Nov 18, 2009 02:22 IST
Stavan Desai

David Coleman Headley, the US national arrested for plotting terrorist attacks in India and Denmark, was trained by the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) — the same Pakistan-based organisation accused of masterminding 26/11.

According to details shared by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with Indian security agencies, Headley (49) was in Pakistan between August and December last year. During this time, he is said to have got training in spying, surveying potential targets, creating false identities, and transmitting information to his Pakistan-based handlers.

During that visit, it is believed Headley made contact with dreaded al-Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri, who commands al-Qaeda’s Brigade 313 and is alleged to have beheaded an Indian army sepoy on the Kashmir border in 2000. “Headley met Kashmiri during his visit to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan,” an official told HT.

Kashmiri is suspected to be hiding and operating from the Waziristan section of FATA. Canadian-Pakistani Tahawwar Hussain Rana (49) confirmed Headley’s training and meeting with Kashmiri after his arrest by the FBI on October 18.

Rana told FBI officers “he was aware” of Headley meeting Kashmiri and that “Headley had received training from LeT.”

The FBI also found that Headley — in an email sent on May 4 to the Internet Yahoo group, abdalians — revealed details of his FATA visit. In the email, Headley said: “I was there on some business recently…I challenge [names an individual] to just walk around the bazaar in Miranshah.

“This bazaar is bustling with Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Bosnians, some from EU countries and, of course, our Arab brothers. According to my survey, the foreign population is a little less than a third of the total. Any Waziri or Mehsud I spoke to seemed grateful to God for the privilege of being able to host the foreign mujahideen.”