Friday, December 5, 2008

Proof of ISI role in Mumbai attacks, India claims

India claims it has proof that Pakistan's powerful military intelligence agency was involved in last week's attacks in Mumbai, Indian newspapers reported Friday. Several newspapers cited sources as saying intelligence pooled with the United States suggested the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had played an active role in training the gunmen who carried out the attack. Investigators now have "the names of the handlers and trainers, (and) the locations where the training was held," The Hindu quoted the unidentified sources as saying.
The Indian Express said intercepts between the gunmen and their handlers showed the use of communication pathways often used by the ISI. India says that the 10 gunmen involved in last week's assault that left 172 people dead, including 26 foreigners, all came from Pakistan. "We are one hundred percent convinced that the Inter Services Intelligence is involved," the India Abroad News Service quoted a highly placed intelligence source as saying. "We are zeroing in on the names of these ISI handlers and will present a fool-proof case (to Pakistan) soon," the source told the agency. The Hindustan Times said Indian officials wanted Washington to hand over any evidence, believing that it would put Islamabad under greater pressure. "We will leave that to the Americans," the Times quoted one official as saying. Suspicion for the attacks has fallen on Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group which has fought Indian control of divided Kashmir and which attacked the Indian parliament in 2001, nearly pushing the two nations to another war.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Islamabad Thursday in an effort to defuse tension in the region after visiting New Delhi the previous day. Rice said it was crucial for the Pakistani government to provide full and transparent cooperation with the Indian investigations. Asif Ali Zardari said he was determined that Pakistan would not be used to orchestrate attacks or shelter terrorists such as those who committed last week's outrage.
"The government will not only assist in investigation but also take strong action against any Pakistani elements found involved in the attack," Zardari said in an official statement issued after he met with Rice. India has in the past accused the ISI of helping attacks on Indian targets by militants, including July's bombing of the Indian embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul.

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