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ISI trained me, says Headley

ISI didn’t simply play host to conspirators, it might have masterminded attack attesting Pak’s role as a global terror hub. Yashwant Raj & PTI report.

world Updated: May 27, 2011 01:10 IST
Yashwant Raj & PTI

Mumbai attacks co-accused David Coleman Headley has testified that he received espionage training against India from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

US prosecution case documents unsealed on Wednesday by a Chicago court trying terror accused Tahawwur Rana reveal that the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, was more in control of the 26/11 operation than was earlier known.

"ISI did provide me (espionage) training," Headley told the court. The statements formed part of his testimony after pleading guilty.

The unsealed documents — known as Santiago Proffer — show Pakistan’s role in the attacks more clearly than previously known. ISI didn’t simply play host to the conspirators, it might have masterminded the operation.

While Headley’s deposition was expected to yield nothing new in terms of information about the planning of the attacks, it has brought out into the open what had only existed in confidential files.

Every word uttered by Headley over the last four days has come as an indictment and reiteration of Pakistan’s role as a global terror hub.

The ISI training to Headley was provided by Major Iqbal, in a two-storey safe house in Lahore near the airport, the Mumbai terror suspect told judges during the course of questioning by defence attorney Charles D Swift.

Headley told the court that when he met Major Iqbal in 2006, he expressed dissatisfaction at the military and espionage training that Headley had received from the Lashkar-e-Taiba and decided to give him instructions.

Headley was trained in various topics, including spotting and assessing people, recognising Indian military insignia and movements, dead drops and pick up points, and clandestine photography, the documents said.

Later, the ISI operative would instruct Headley on the targets to be surveyed on his subsequent visits. He took over the planning of Headley’s India cover completely, from financing it to deciding the logistics for it. The cover was to be a branch of the First World Immigration Services, a company owned by Rana.

ISI’s role in the attacks was suspected by India from day one. It was confirmed by Headley during seven days of his questioning here by officials of the National Investigation Agency of India in June 2010.

When questioned by Swift, Headley told the court that both the ISI and Major Iqbal trained him for espionage against India.