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US stands with India in their quest for justice: Donald Trump on 26/11 Mumbai attacks

From November 26 to 29, 2008, ten terrorists associated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out a series of coordinated assaults against multiple targets in Mumbai.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2018 10:35 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Donald Trump,26/11,26/11 attacks
US president Donald Trump expressed his support to India on Monday on the 10th anniversary of the terror attack in which 10-Pakistan based terrorists went on a shooting rampage in Mumbai killing more than 160 people.(Reuters file photo)

President Donald Trump added his voice to the outpouring of support for India and the condemnation of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai ten years ago, saying the US “stands with the people of India in their quest for justice”.

Trump did not name Pakistan in the tweet he posted late on Monday afternoon, but the secretary of state Mike Pompeo, in his statement earlier, and Nathan Sales, the counterterrorism czar at the state department, had stressed the need for Pakistan to punish the guilty.

President Trump, who has been tough on Pakistan, pointed in that direction.

“On the ten-year anniversary of the Mumbai terror attack, the US stands with the people of India in their quest for justice. We will never let terrorists win, or even come close to winning!” he wrote on Twitter.

The US also announced a $5 million reward earlier on Monday for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual who committed, conspired, aided or abetted the attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

“The United States is committed to seeing that those responsible for this attack face justice. The Department of State Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program offers a new reward for up to USD five million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual who was involved in planning or facilitating the 2008 Mumbai attacks,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Pompeo also said the US will call upon Pakistan, to uphold its UN Security Council obligation to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity.

It is the third such reward offered by the US. In April 2012, the state department had announced rewards for information for LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Hafiz and another senior leader of the group, Abdul Rahman Makki. In December 2001, it designated LeT as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Trump has also suspended $1.66 billion in security aidto Pakistan this year after accusing the one-time close ally of giving only “lies and deceit” in return for American assistance and steered it on to a watch-list of a world watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force, that combats money laundering and terrorist financing.

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Just the previous week, Trump said in an interview to a television news channel that Pakistan has “not done a damn thing” for the United States despite all the aid it has received and went on to call them “Fools!’. “We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he (Osama bin Laden) was living there.”

On Monday, two Trump White House officials and Sales attended an event hosted by Indian ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna at the Indian Embassy to observe the tenth anniversary of the attack that had lasted three days and killed 166 people from India and 14 other countries, including six American citizens.

Referring to Trump’s tweets, Pompeo’s remarks and the presence of Sales and the White House officials, Sarna said, “bilateral cooperation between India and the US in the field of counter-terrorism has perhaps never been more intense and at a higher level that it is today.”

India has welcomed Trump administration’s unflinching focus on combating counter-terrorism, especially in South Asia and in Afghanistan, where the US has been long in search of a way to end its longest lasting war, which Pakistan has the ability to influence through its proxies among the Taliban.

But Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has been on the US radar also for it its actions and its many attempts to evade scrutiny — with active encouragement from its local benefactors in Pakistan — through fronts seeking to either promote humanitarian work (Jamaat-ud-Dawa) or a political philosophy (through Milli Muslim League).

And the US has been relentlessly vigilant, outlawing the charity and political fronts of the LeT soon after they were launched.

“Make no mistake,” said Sales at the Indian embassy event. “Whatever the LeT and its proxies choose to call themselves we know who they are: terrorists.”

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 07:31 IST