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Pakistan Link to Mumbai Attack Questioned

POSTED: 02:55 PM ET, 12/ 3/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (second to the left) speaks with political leaders during a national security conference in Islamabad Dec. 2. (Reuters / Mian Khursheed)

As India continues to point the finger at neighboring Pakistan for a deadly terrorist attack in Mumbai that killed at least 172 people a week ago, government officials and security experts are urging patience in order to sort out truth from speculation.

India has accused Yusuf Muzammil, a senior leader of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, of coordinating the attack, The Wall Street Journal reported. A senior Mumbai police official told the newspaper that two days before the attack, the group of 10 terrorists who took hostages talked with terrorist group leaders via satellite phone. The group also underwent training in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, the official said.

Muzammil was on a list of 20 people India has asked Pakistan to extradite. Pakistani officials have promised to look into the alleged role of "nonstate actors," a phrase that usually refers to militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba. President Asif Ali Zardari pledged quick action against anyone proven to be involved. (The State Department has been reluctant to say whether Pakistan had a role in the attack, except to say a group at least partly based in the country is believed responsible, The Associated Press reports.)

Meanwhile, a former Defense Department official told The New York Times that former officers from Pakistan's Army and its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency helped train the Mumbai terrorists, although there was no known link to the current government. (The ties to former officers, if substantiated, could prove to be a point of serious contention between India and Pakistan, which has denied any state involvement in the attack.)

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, speaking in New Delhi to reporters, has tried to play a role of neutral mediator as information about the attackers has leaked out. She has urged Pakistan to "act quickly" in turning over information to Indian authorities, Reuters reports, but also stressed that any hasty move by India could yield "unintended consequences," according to The Times.

Steve Coll, writing for The New Yorker, noted that India will likely try to find evidence of direct state sponsorship by Pakistan in the attacks, but such evidence might be hard to come by.

"If past investigations into such groups prove to be any guide, it may be difficult to find clear-cut evidence of direct involvement by Pakistani intelligence or army personnel," Coll wrote last week. "This is because Pakistan, knowing the stakes of getting caught red-handed, has increasingly pursued its clandestine proxy war against India in Kashmir and on the Indian mainland through layers and layers of self-managing and non-state groups."

By Derek Kravitz |  December 3, 2008; 2:55 PM ET
Previous: Report: Bailout Plan Needs Work | Next: Nixon Tapes Reveal Vietnam Strategy


Please email us to report offensive comments.

This was too sophisticated and large scale not to have been state sponsored. Also, it was executed Chechen style, in your face, multiple sites, cripple first than crimp.

Posted by: osmiljan | December 3, 2008 3:48 PM

The heading is sensationalism by Washington Post....The connection to Pakistan is not denied...only whether it is state sponsored. I will allow the learned readers to make the decision.

Posted by: jayjay4 | December 3, 2008 4:26 PM

In Pakistan, even "state actors" get away scott free, let alone "non state" actors. When Dr. A.Q. Khan, father of their nuclear establishment, (undeniably a "state actor")was caught selling WMD secrets to North Korea, Libya and Iran, the Pakistan government threw up its hands,in a posture of "injured innocence",claiming that they knew nothing about what even their "state actors" were up to.

Posted by: ngswami | December 3, 2008 5:35 PM

The misleading headline is below the journalistic standards of Washington Post. It is also deliberately unethical.

Who is Derek Kravitz?

Posted by: kaal | December 3, 2008 7:03 PM

The US should take action soon to wipe out the terrorists from Pakistan. Bush stated several years ago that "any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." Pakistan should have been on the list from day one. If Pakistan can't handle it, let someone in there who will.

Posted by: bluefan | December 3, 2008 7:42 PM

Derek Kravitz is a summer intern at Washington Post.

Mr. Kravitz, please be more careful in future.

Posted by: kaal | December 3, 2008 7:58 PM

Why is it so difficult for Pakistani government to accept that the person is Pakistani and is it so difficult to provie otherwise if he is not?

Indians told the name of the person, his home address and his age and the photo of this person is all over the net. Had this all been false Pakistani govermnent would have started crying out that no one with such a name lives there. They could have sent police to this address and laid all doubts to rest. They are not saying anything about it. What it says -- it says the guy is a Pakistani and this operation has Pakistani hand all over it. Period.

Posted by: iiindianguy | December 3, 2008 10:03 PM

What sort of actions you guys are demanding against Pakistan .It has not been decided yet that who is responsible for attacks in Mumbai. I don’t need to give justifications .Just think who has benefited most from this ? Don’t you think ist BJP .U must know that elections are approaching in INDIA and if you guys don’t know you can look through the history and find the policy followed by BJP for elections .They collect votes on the basis of enmity against Pakistan ... And one more thing congress was having investigation against the terror attacks some times ago and it was quiet clear that who was responsible for them "BJP". I will strongly encourage you people to comment on this .

Posted by: mian_ghous | December 4, 2008 3:21 AM


There is a view in Pakistan that Hindus themselves (BJP) carried out this attack. Some also believe that Masood Azhar, Bin Laden, Mullah Omar are Hindu agents.

Do you share that view? Are there many Pakistanis like you?

Posted by: kaal | December 4, 2008 7:45 AM

Deal Kall You know the reality that who is Mulla Umar Usama etc... I think its very clear to every one that who has created them and who has been controlling them since 9/11 .Its CIA my dear .And as far as the JEHAD concept of the so called mullas is concerned its totally against the teachings on Islam and I dont even find any spirit of islam in them.Well we are getting away from the main point. I dont say that Indian people are bad or they hate Pakiz i just say that these dirty politician can do any thing they can even kill their on people for their benift and power. We both countries have such examples .Just recall your memory that who killed your Nehroo (sorry if i am mistaken in name)and our Liquat Ali there was no Alqaida at that time. And by killng Benazir Bhutto who has benifited most ?? is it Alqaida ??? No dear its the politicians who are in government now...

Posted by: mian_ghous | December 5, 2008 1:57 AM

This is senseless beating of the war drum. After 9/11, the US knew Saudi Arabia had its citizens behind the attack, but the US never went after the Saudis nor made demands on them. Why all this posturing? Are the citizens of India stupid? Do they think they can connect terrorists with the official government? No, this is a ploy to have yet another pro-Zionist attack against an Islamic entity, one that possesses nuclear weapons.

Posted by: spearburning | December 6, 2008 4:40 PM

How can Washington Post call itself a reputed and responsible newspaper, when it allow a summer intern to report such a misleading heading?? That too, in such a sensitive time. Does Wahinton Post want South Asia to burn?? Where is good Journalism??

Posted by: humanity | December 7, 2008 1:06 PM

Dear spearburning,

Can you name any Terrorist organisation based in Saudi, responsible for repeated attacks around the world?

Can you name any Saudi Intelligence agency sponsoring terrorists?

Can you report an incidence in Saudi, when suddenly so called 'Non State Terrorists' declare that they will fight along with stae army.?

Have ever Saudi declared that they have "non state Terrorists'?

Why any Terror attack any where in the world has a final road leading to Pakistan???

Indian are stupid, not beacuse they blame Pakistan. They are stupids because, they still do not attack so called "Non state Terror Camps".

Posted by: humanity | December 7, 2008 1:13 PM

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