Archive for the ‘Mumbai’ Category

Indian Newspaper: Pakistan’s Zardari Has Legitimacy, But No Authority

December 4, 2008

In the wake of the carnage in Mumbai, India is contemplating another round of coercive diplomacy. But the geopolitical winds are unfavourable. In 2002, India was successful in pushing Washington to arm-twist Pakistan. The then ruler Pervez Musharraf learnt a lesson. Today, India has less left behind its push, Islamabad has a greater hold over the US and, in any case, the lights are going out in the White House.

Most Indians believe the Army mobilisation that followed the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) attack on Parliament in 2002 was much sound and fury signifying nothing. It didn’t bring peace on earth. But Islamabad did learn a lesson and paid a price — which should be the goal of any Indian response to Pakistan-based terrorist outrage.

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times

In this picture released by Pakistan People's Party, then ruling ... 
President Zardari.  No authority?
AP Photo/Pakistan People’s Party

The lesson of 2002: before 9/11, Islamabad could count on the US jumping in during any India-Pakistan terror crisis, point fingers at the two countries’ nuclear weapons and persuade New Delhi not to retaliate. After 9/11, the Bush administration told Pakistan, “If India wants to bloody your nose, they have the right.” US embassy officials rang up Indian journalists to stress that the US was no longer using the word ‘restraint’ when it came to India.

The price of 2002: India, after considering and abandoning the demand for the extradition of 20 terrorists because it feared its own courts would let them go, demanded Pakistan put an end to militant infiltration into Kashmir. New Delhi knew very well this would be a band-aid concession. But it calculated a few months of border quiet would be enough to push through a peaceful and fair Kashmir election. Its success on that front is the main reason the turbulent state has seen relatively low levels of violence since 2002.

Outwardly, it seems like India could play the same game again. Pakistan has denuded its border with India of troops. Most have been transferred to fight recalcitrant militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. If India waves a big stick, these troops would have to return to the eastern border. Washington is desperate for that not to happen as its Afghan war effort would be crippled. In theory, then, the US would be prepared to press Pakistan to cough up a concession to ensure the troop transfer doesn’t happen. However, the landscape has changed in all three countries. The most telling is that President George W. Bush is down to his last 50 days in office. There is very little desire in the US to cut the ground from under President Asif Ali Zardari’s feet. He is Mr Nice Guy and Mr Best Hope.

Which raises a question: whom exactly is there to arm-twist in Pakistan? As the recent ‘Now he’s coming, now he’s not’ farce over the ISI chief showed, Zardari only thinks he’s President. He has legitimacy, but no authority. Military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has authority, but no legitimacy.

General Kayani.  Photo Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

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Mumbai: Captive Terrorist Talking, Names Pak Kingpins, Says Indian Sites Evaluated in 2007

December 4, 2008

A Pakistani militant group apparently used an Indian operative as far back as 2007 to scout targets for the elaborate plot against India’s financial capital, authorities said Thursday, a blow to Indian officials who have blamed the deadly attacks entirely on Pakistani extremists.

By SAM DOLNICK, Associated Press Writer

As investigators sought to unravel the attack on Mumbai, stepping up questioning of the lone captured gunman, airports across India were put on high alert amid fresh warnings that terrorists planned to hijack an aircraft.

Also Thursday, police said there were signs that some of the six victims of the attack on a Jewish center may have been tortured. “The victims were strangled,” said Rakesh Maria, a senior Mumbai police official. “There were injuries noticed on the bodies that were not from firing.”

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard during heightened security ... 
Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard during heightened security checks at Chennai International airport in Chennai, India, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. Indian airports were put on high alert after the government received warnings of possible airborne attacks.(AP Photo)

Members of an Israeli rescue group which had a team in Mumbai said it was impossible to tell if the bodies had been abused, however, because no autopsies were conducted in accordance with Jewish tradition.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_india_shooting

How India fumbled response to Mumbai attack

December 4, 2008

It took 10 minutes for word of the Nov. 26 , Mumbai terror assaults to reach the top of the government of Maharashtra state, but nearly 10 hours for India‘s best commando team to reach the scene.

That delay may help to explain why it took three days for India’s security forces to overpower 10 assailants who police say killed at least 188 people and wounded more than 280.

By Padma Rao Sundarji, McClatchy Newspapers

Indecision by politicians and the delay in launching the commando force, however, don’t fully account for the extent of the slaughter, which now threatens to escalate into conflict between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan , where the attacks are thought to have been planned.

“This was not the fault of any one organ of the security apparatus, but a systemic failure,” said Arun Bhagat , a former chief of India’s Intelligence Bureau , India’s main domestic intelligence agency.

Indian officials ignored advance intelligence warnings. Police officers ran away from the scenes of carnage because they lacked weapons, and their bulletproof vests were said to be defective. The Indian coast guard doesn’t have night vision equipment, much less the more advanced human detection gear used by China , Japan and other countries.

India’s security agencies are now rushing to point the finger at each other.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20081204/wl_mcclatchy/3115227

Security Scare at Delhi’s Airport In India

December 4, 2008

The police force in charge of security at Delhi’s main airport has denied reports that people have been shot and injured there.

Police are investigating “two sharp sounds that were heard at the airport”, the force told the BBC’s Delhi bureau.

Earlier, airport officials told the BBC shots had been fired, and that several gunmen had been killed or injured.

Security has been strengthened at Indian airports after warnings of possible attacks.

Indian media reported that operations at Delhi’s main international airport appeared to have returned to normal after security forces examined the terminal after the security alert.

Tensions have been high in India since last week when at least 10 gunmen went on a shooting spree in Mumbai, killing nearly 200 people.

Indian officials have blamed Pakistan-based militants for the Mumbai attacks.

BBC News

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An Indian paramilitary official stands guard at the Indira Gandhi ... 
An Indian paramilitary official stands guard at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on December 4. India has put all of its major airports on high alert following warnings of possible attacks using hijacked airlines, officials have said.(AFP/Manan Vatsyayana)

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Airports in India went on high alert Thursday following fresh attack warnings as officials said India suspects two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated the deadly Mumbai attacks.

The alert came as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari promised the U.S. secretary of state his country would take “strong action” against any elements in Pakistan involved in last week’s siege.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer

The new alert that warned of possible airborne attacks focused on three major airports — New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai — but security was stepped up across India. No details about the threat were released.

“This is a warning which we have received. We are prepared as usual,” India’s air force chief, Fali Homi Major, told reporters.

The British Broadcasting Corp. cited unconfirmed reports from airport officials as saying late Thursday that up to six gunmen had been shot and killed at New Delhi’s international airport. But Indian police told The Associated Press there was a minor incident and no deaths. “It was not a terrorist incident. No one was killed,” said police spokesman Rajan Bhagat. He gave no further details.

Heavily armed guards from India’s Rapid Deployment Force manned roadblocks outside airports, while others patrolled inside airport buildings among passengers.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_india_shooting

Rice says Pakistan pledges to help find Mumbai suspects

December 4, 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the Pakistani government had pledged to cooperate in rounding up suspects of the Mumbai terror attacks who operated from Pakistani territory or were of Pakistani origin.

By Salman Masood and Robert F. Worth
International Herald Tribune

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan, right, in Islamabad on Thursday. Also shown in photo: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, left, and the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson. (B.K.Bangash/The Associated Press)

Rice flew to the Pakistani capital Thursday for talks after discussions Wednesday with Indian officials in New Delhi. She stressed that both India and Pakistan should cooperate fully to investigate the Mumbai  attacks and bring to justice those who perpetrated them. More than 170 people were killed in an onslaught on targets including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a café and a railroad station. Of a presumed 10 attackers, all but one were killed.

“What I heard was a commitment that this is the course that will be taken,” Rice told reporters at Chaklala Air Base after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

In Mumbai, investigators reported Thursday that inquiries so far had produced gruesome new evidence suggesting savage treatment of some of the eight Israelis killed at the Jewish center. Some of them appeared to have strangulation marks and wounds on their bodies did not come from gunshots or grenades, Rakesh Maria, a joint commissioner of police in Mumbai, told reporters.

He said interrogation of the survivor among the attackers had provided new evidence identifying another operative of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group said to have indoctr….

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http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/04/asia/05mumbai.php

U.S. Message to Pakistan: Battle Terror, Not India

December 4, 2008

U.S. officials said Wednesday that they are pressing Pakistan to change the primary mission of its intelligence services from preparing for war with India to actively helping the fight against Islamic extremists, some of whom have been linked to last week’s attacks in Mumbai.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) shakes hands with ... 
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) shakes hands with India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee before their meeting in New Delhi December 3, 2008.(B Mathur/Reuters)

That is the message Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael G. Mullen are delivering to President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad this week, the officials said. Adm. Mullen was in Pakistan on Wednesday and Miss Rice was expected there Thursday.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and parts of its military have been accused of being too close to militant groups that have staged numerous attacks in both Pakistan and neighboring India.

By Nicholas Kralev
The Washington Times

The chief of the United States military, admiral Mike Mullen, ... 
Chairman of the United States Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen Wednesday asked Pakistan to “investigate aggressively” any possible links that groups based in Pakistan have to the Mumbai attacks.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jason Kempin)

“The ISI has been geared up for years to fight its neighbor next door,” a senior U.S. official said in reference to India. “It’s supportive of the Taliban in Afghanistan; it’s skeptical of the war on terror and thinks it’s a war against Islam. That has to change.”

In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, which killed at least 170 and wounded hundreds, “the situation has changed dramatically, and Pakistan has to follow every lead” to get to the bottom of the plot, he said.

“Otherwise, the Indians might decide that Pakistan cannot be counted on to be a partner in the war on terror,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he was discussing sensitive private exchanges with the nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian security forces are holding the only Mumbai attacker to be captured alive, and officials there say he has admitted to being a Pakistani and a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist group thought by some to have ties to current and former ISI members.

The U.S. official said the real war is with militants along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. Some Pakistani officials have suggested that they may need to move troops from that border to the Indian border if tensions rise further. But the U.S. official said there are “no signs that India will move additional forces” to the border.

To make sure the Indians give Pakistan no excuse to transfer troops, Miss Rice visited New Delhi on Wednesday. She said that any response by India “needs to be judged by its effectiveness in prevention and also by not creating other unintended consequences or difficulties.”

Related:

Mumbai Terrorists: The Facts We Know

 Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

December 4, 2008

India has their names, identities and some clues.  Peace and Freedom believes perhaps torture, truth serum was used on captured Mumbai terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab to prompt a confession….

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India suspects two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated the three-day siege of the country’s financial capital that killed at least 171 people, Indian officials said Thursday.

Evidence collected in the investigation pointed to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Yusuf Muzammil as masterminds behind the bloody rampage in Mumbai, according to two government officials familiar with the matter.

Lakhvi and Muzammil are top members of the outlawed Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba — which India blames in attacks — and are believed to be living in Pakistan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the details. Lakhvi has been identified as the group’s chief of operations and Muzammil as its operations chief in Kashmir and other parts of India.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer

The revelations came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Pakistan Thursday for meetings with civilian and military leaders after visiting Indian leaders in New Delhi. She aimed to raise pressure on Pakistan’s government to help get to the bottom of the terror attacks, saying that Pakistan must mount a “robust response” to bring the terrorists to justice.

The U.S. wants Pakistan to do more to go after terror cells rooted in Pakistan. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen was pushing the same message in Pakistan on Wednesday.

Indian airports, meanwhile, were put on high alert after the government received warnings of possible airborne attacks.

“This is based on a warning, which has been received and we are prepared as usual,” India’s air force chief, Fali Homi Major, told the Press Trust of India news agency Thursday.

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Times of London

Indian police interrogators are preparing to administer a “truth serum” on the sole Islamic militant captured during last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai to settle once and for all the question of where he is from.

The mystery of the man dubbed “the baby-faced gunman” has weighed heavily on India’s relations with Pakistan as the nuclear-armed neighbors dispute each other’s accounts of his origin.

FILE  INDIA OUT. CREDIT MANDATORY  ...
Above: Nov. 26: Azam Amir Kasab walks at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India. AP

Police interrogators in Mumbai told The Times that they have “verified” that Azam Amir Kasab, who was captured after a shoot-out in a Mumbai railway station on Wednesday night, is from Faridkot, a small village in Pakistan’s impoverished south Punjab region. They say that the nine dead gunmen are also Pakistani.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,461067,00.html

India Says U.S. Has Given O.K. To Strikes Into Pakistan if Islamabad fails To Assist With Mumbai

December 3, 2008

The United States has set the stage for punitive internationally-backed strikes by India against terrorist camps in Pakistan, if Islamabad does not act first to dismantle them, by rejecting President Zardari’s alibi that non-state actors were responsible for the last week’s carnage in Mumbai.

The Times of India 

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strikes_if_Pak_does_not_act/articleshow/3789520.cms

Related:
 Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

U.S. Messge to Pakistan: Battle Terror, Not India

Zardari Says Pakistan “In No Way” Responsible for Mumbai Attacks

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari denied his nation was involved in last week’s deadly attacks on Mumbai, India, and told CNN on Tuesday he’s seen no evidence that a suspect in custody is a Pakistani national as Indian officials claim.

CNN
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“I think these are stateless actors who have been operating all throughout the region,” Zardari said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in an interview set to air Tuesday night. “The gunmen plus the planners, whoever they are, [are] stateless actors who have been holding hostage the whole world.”

At least 179 people were killed when a band of gunmen attacked 10 targets in Mumbai on Wednesday night, triggering three days of battles with police and Indian troops in the heart of the city — the hub of India’s financial and entertainment industries. Most of the deaths occurred at the city’s top two hotels: the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were "stateless actors."

Above: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were “stateless actors.”

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http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/02/pa
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Could Mumbai Terrorism Occur In America?

December 3, 2008

Like the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in America, the Mumbai terrorist assault last week began with a hijacking. Islamic militants seized a private fishing boat at sea rather than commercial jetliners, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials. But the attackers displayed the same deadly ability to coordinate a complex operation against multiple targets as did their predecessors on Sept. 11.

By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
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The terrorists were from a Pakistani group called Lashkar-i-Taiba, which has loose links with al-Qaeda, U.S officials believe. The attackers began by boarding the boat in the Arabian Sea and killing the captain. They then piloted the boat toward the Mumbai harbor. As they neared the coast on Wednesday, Nov. 26, they launched several rubber lifeboats for the final amphibious assault.

The attack was meticulously planned: The raiders dispersed to several targets across the crowded city that had been studied by advance reconnaissance teams. They maintained communications silence on the way in, U.S. officials believe. And most important, they carried with them enough guns, ammunition and supplies for a long battle inside India’s largest city.

Then the mayhem began: The terrorists stormed their targets — three luxury hotels, a Jewish cultural center, a railway station — turning the nearby streets into a free-fire zone. It took about 10 hours for Indian anti-terrorism commandos to arrive at the besieged hotels, and it was almost three days before all the attackers had been captured or killed.

The Mumbai attacks were a ghastly reminder of the threat still posed by al-Qaeda and related terrorist groups. The militants have the training, the logistical support and, most of all, the determination to pull off spectacular attacks. They read their enemies’ tactical vulnerabilities well — understanding in this case that urban police forces have trouble combating moving bands of shooters. And they appeared to have had a cleverly divisive strategic goal — of reanimating tension between India and Pakistan just as the two were beginning to make common cause against terrorism.

For Americans watching the carnage, the obvious question was: Could it happen here? U.S. officials say the answer, unfortunately, is yes. And then comes a second question: If America is hit with another Sept. 11-style terrorist assault, how should the country react?

The Department of Homeland Security has been worried for more than a year about the danger of seaborne attacks. With an estimated 17 million small vessels plying the thousands of miles of U.S. coastline, the vulnerability is obvious. The DHS announced a “small-vessel security strategy” in April to focus on ports and coastal waterways, and it has held four regional small-vessel “security summits” this year, in Buzzards Bay, Mass., Long Beach, Calif., Orlando and Cleveland. A fifth such gathering is planned for Houston next month.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20
08/12/02/AR2008120202722.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Mumbai Terrorists: The Facts We Know

December 3, 2008

In Mumbai, it is now apparent that the terrorists that struck the hotels and other sites, killed nearly 200, tortured Jewish prisoners before putting them to death, and threw around hand grenades indiscriminately, were not your grandparents terrorists.

Because the Indian police captured one terrorist alive and a wealth of material and forensic evidence, we know several facts about the Mumbai terrorists:

–The surviving terrorist has told authorities he and the others were trained in Pakistan by the Islamist militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

–The terrorists were well armed with modern, first-rate automatic weapons and hand grenades.

–They used every conceivable modern technology to assist them in their deadly task: cell phones, GPS, Blackberries, text messaging and other tools were found.

–They had prepared physically and mentally for a long siege.  The dead terrorists are “beefy” well muscled men who seem to have worked out physically for months recently. There is some evidence that the terrorists used steroids.

–The susviving terrorist has spoken about mental and Islamic readiness and the fact that none of the terrorists had any fear of death.

–The terrorist, though Islamic fanatics, used cocaine, LSD and other drugs to assist them to stay awake and “one the edge.” Syringes, paraphernalia, and steroids were found on some of the terrorists.

–At least one terrorist wore a shirt bearing the Versace logo; a kind of Muslim taboo.  The use of the logo indicates that these men are unafraid to embrace what some Muslims consider “decadent.” 

The wearing of the “decadent” logo might seem a small, seemingly unimportant fact. But it could be evidence, combined with the drug use and other evidence, that these terrorist are unencumbered by any religious, cultural,  moral or other restrictions.

A criminal psychologist schooled in terrorism told Peace and Freedom, “these are mad dogs off the leash.”

This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with ... 
This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with a “Versace” logo carrying an automatic weapon as he enters a train station in Mumbai, late November 26. The man, Ajmal Amir Kamal, 21, is being interrogated in a safe house in Mumbai, reports said.(AFP/NDTV/File)