Ex-Pakistan Army officers, ISI trained Mumbai attackers: NYT (Lead)

December 4th, 2008 - 10:43 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 4 (IANS) American intelligence agencies have determined that former officers from Pakistan’s Army and its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency helped train the Mumbai attackers, the New York Times has reported citing a former Defence Department official.But the unnamed official said that no specific links had been uncovered yet between the terrorists and the Pakistani government, the influential US daily said in a report from Washington published Thursday. His disclosure came as Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with his Pakistani counterpart in Islamabad to pressure Pakistan to cooperate fully in the effort to track down those responsible for last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai.

Admiral Mullen pressed the Pakistani leaders to crack down on Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT) network of training camps, including those in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, and the organization’s guerrilla recruiting efforts, the Times said citing an American military official. He also called on them to “investigate aggressively” any Pakistani links to the attacks.

Mullen met with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani, Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and other officials.Both American and Indian authorities have concluded that there was little doubt that the Mumbai attacks were directed by militants inside Pakistan, the daily said.

Indian officials have said they have identified three or four masterminds of the attack, including a leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Yusuf Muzzamil. Lashkar-e-Taiba is officially banned in Pakistan, but it has been linked to the country’s powerful intelligence service and is believed to have moved its militant networks to Pakistan’s tribal areas, the Times said. US Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell said two days ago the group behind the Mumbai assault also carried out the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, which authorities blamed on Let. He didn’t mention the group by name.

His assessment echoed that of a US counterterrorism official, who said there are strong indications the gunmen are linked to LeT. The unnamed official cited in US media reports too cautioned that the probe is in its early stages. Another American official cited by the media said the assailants could have been at least partly based in Pakistan - the closest the US has come to laying blame for the attacks. But like others, the unnamed State Department official too was careful to say not all the evidence is in.

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