‘US indictment of four Pakistanis in Mumbai attack significant’April 27th, 2011 - 10:44 am ICT by IANS
Washington, April 27 (IANS) The indictment of four alleged Pakistani masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, including two men linked to Islamabad’s security forces, is seen by US media as a “major development” in the case.
The indictment filed Monday never mentions the Pakistani security forces or their alleged role in the attacks, New York based investigative journalism group, noted ProPublica in an article in the Washington Post Tuesday.
“But it represents a major development in a secretive and diplomatically sensitive prosecution set for trial next month, because Pakistan is considered a close US ally in the fight against terrorism,” it said
Prosecutors charged the four Pakistanis with playing lead roles in the attacks, suspected to have been organized by the Pakistan based Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) terrorist group.
The indictment identifies a man known only as Major Iqbal as one of the masterminds, who allegedly directed and funded months of reconnaissance in Mumbai by Pakistani American David Coleman Headley, who has pleaded guilty.
The indictment describes Iqbal as “a resident of Pakistan who participated in planning and funding attacks by Lashkar.”
But ProPublica noted US and Indian anti-terrorism officials and Indian court documents allege that Iqbal was a serving officer in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
He allegedly acted as Headley’s main handler, one of at least three ISI officers suspected of involvement in recruiting, training and directing Headley in terrorist activities, according to US and Indian investigators and Indian court documents, it said.
The other significant figure indicted Monday is a longtime Lashkar chief named Sajid Mir, who also is accused of serving as Headley’s handler, ProPublica said.
Mir, who remains at large, according to investigators, was a key plotter of the Mumbai attacks. His voice was caught on tape directing the slaughter by telephone from a safe house in Pakistan, according to officials and documents.
Some Western anti-terrorism officials think Mir spent time in the Pakistani security forces, while others say he was close to the ISI but was not a serving officer, ProPublica said.
Also charged Monday was Abu Qahafa, who is accused of overseeing the training of the attack team. Suspect Mazhar Iqbal, alias Abu al-Qama, is the only one of the four known to be in custody in Pakistan.
The fifth accused, Chicago-based Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, who allegedly assisted Headley’s reconnaissance efforts in India and Denmark, is set to go on trial in Chicago on May 16.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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- Is Headley telling the truth? - May 31, 2011
- Manhunt on for elusive mastermind of Mumbai attack: Report - Nov 14, 2010
- ISI hired Headley to spy on India, Mumbai attacks: report - Jan 01, 2011
- Headley worked with FBI for capture of Mumbai mastermind - Jun 01, 2011
- Kayani refused to take away Lakhvi's mobile: report - Nov 23, 2011
- US says shared information with India after Headley's another wife's terror link expose - Oct 17, 2010
- Court accepts 26/11 charges against Headley, 8 Pakistanis (Lead) - Feb 18, 2012
- Headley: An elusive spy who betrayed friends and allies - Nov 24, 2011
- Before Mumbai attacks, wife warned of Headley's terror ties in Pakistan - Oct 16, 2010
- FBI failed to act on Headley's wife's terror link expose 3 yrs before Mumbai attacks - Oct 16, 2010
- Mumbai masterminds roam free because of Headley: Report - Nov 22, 2011
- India monitoring Rana trial for ISI terror links (Lead) - May 16, 2011
Tags: court documents, david coleman, indian investigators, indictment, inter services, investigative journalism, iqbal, isi, lashkar, masterminds, pakistanis, plotter, prosecutors, reconnaissance, security forces, significant figure, terror attacks, terrorist activities, terrorist group, washington post