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Pakistani probe indicts LeT for 26/11: Report

world Updated: Sep 30, 2009 15:25 IST
Arun Kumar
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Pakistan's own investigation into 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks concludes "beyond any reasonable doubt" that it was militants from the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) who carried out the carnage, according to the New York Times.

Among the organizers, the Pakistani investigation document says, was Hammad Amin Sadiq, a homeopathic pharmacist, who arranged bank accounts and secured supplies.

Pakistani and Indian dossiers on the Mumbai investigations, copies of which the Times said were obtained by it, offer a detailed picture of the operations of a Lashkar network that spans Pakistan. It included four houses and two training camps in Karachi that were used to prepare the 26/11 attacks.

According to testimony by the only surviving attacker, Ajmal Kasab, 22, Lashkar recruits were vetted and trained around the country, including at well-established camps in Muzaffarabad, in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, as well as in Mansehra, in North-West Frontier Province.

A core group, the 10 chosen for the Mumbai assault, was eventually moved to Karachi and its suburbs, where the real drilling began and where Pakistani investigators later retraced the plotters' steps.

Beginning as early as May 2008, the group trained and planned brazenly while living in various neighborhoods in and around Karachi. They made scores of calls using cellphones, some with stolen numbers, starting in August. They set up voice lines over the Internet.

At one water sports shop, they bought inflatable boats, air pumps, life jackets and engines. One of their training camps, with five thatched rooms and a three-room house, was located near a creek, where they conducted water drills in the open.

Police later recovered an abundance of evidence: militant literature, pocket diaries, spent and live ammunition, empty gun magazines, life vests and receipts for supplies, including distributed weapons and explosives, the Pakistani dossier says, according to the Times.

At the other camp, which they named Azizabad, the group and their trainers set up a classroom.

Using handwritten manuals, the recruits were trained how to use mobile phones to keep in contact with their handlers during the attack. They pored over detailed maps of the Indian coastline, plotting the course they would take to Mumbai. They learned how to use global positioning devices.

Working from Millat Town, a dusty, middle-class Karachi suburb on the eastern edge of the city, Sadiq organized the cadre. Neighbors described him as quiet and pious, riding around the streets with his two young sons perched on his motorbike. The Pakistani dossier, according to the Times, says he was a committed Lashkar militant.

Despite official denials, Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI, maintains links to Lashkar, though the current level of support remains murky, according to the senior American intelligence official interviewed by The Times, as well as Pakistani analysts, retired military officials and former Lashkar members.

Pakistani officials say that after 9/11 they broke their contacts with the group. But a senior American intelligence official cited by the daily said the ISI was believed to maintain ties with Lashkar.

Four Lashkar members, interviewed individually, said only a thin distance separated Lashkar and the ISI, bridged by former ISI and military officials.

One highly placed Lashkar militant was cited as saying that the Mumbai attackers were part of groups trained by former Pakistani military and intelligence officials at Lashkar camps.

Others had direct knowledge that retired army and ISI officials trained Lashkar recruits as late as last year.