Guess Who Helped Plan the Mumbai Attacks?


Why, our friends and allies in Pakistan, of course! The Guardian's Jason Burke breaks a big story today—which is also, alas, completely unsurprising: According to interrogations of those involved, Pakistan's ISI intelligence service helped orchestrate Lashkar-e-Taiba's brutal 2008 attack on Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel.

Pakistan's powerful intelligence services were heavily involved in preparations for the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008, according to classified Indian government documents obtained by the Guardian.

A 109-page report into the interrogation of key suspect David Headley, a Pakistani-American militant arrested last year and detained in the US, makes detailed claims of ISI support for the bombings.

Under questioning, Headley described dozens of meetings between officers of the main Pakistani military intelligence service, the ISI, and senior militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

He claims a key motivation for the ISI in aiding the attacks was to bolster militant organisations with strong links to the Pakistani state and security establishment who were being marginalised by more extreme radical groups.

Here comes the not unexpected hedge:

Headley, who undertook surveillance of the targets in Mumbai for the operation, claims that at least two of his missions were partly paid for by the ISI and that he regularly reported to the spy agency. However, the documents suggest that supervision of the militants by the ISI was often chaotic and that the most senior officers of the agency may have been unaware at least of the scale and ambition of the operation before it was launched.

Full story here. Burke's related story on Pakistani-American suspect David Headley here.