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July 14, 2006
Did Pakistani Intelligence Plan India Bombings?

Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, has long been rumored to have deep connections to Islamist radicals, including al-Qaeda and almost certainly helped prop up the Taliban during their years in power. Now the Hindustan Times reports that the ISI had some operational connection to the Mumbai bombings of 7/11, potentially broadening the scope of the conflict between Pakistan and India:

Forty-eight hours after bombs ripped through Mumbai, the needle pointed to Pakistan. Intelligence agencies on Thursday confirmed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was the “mastermind” of the blasts that killed about 200 people.

The Mumbai Police, meanwhile, identified the trio who planned and executed 11/7: Rahil, Zahibuddin Ansari and Faiyaz, linked to the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Of them, Rahil had reportedly made an abortive bid to trigger a blast at Byculla railway station on March 11 — the eve of the anniversary of the 1993 Bombay blasts.

The agencies, which briefed National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and Cabinet Secretary BK Chaturvedi, said the blueprint for Tuesday’s blasts was made by the ISI while the “plan” was executed by “local Indian operatives”.

A senior intelligence officer said the synchronised explosions had the “hallmark” of an ISI operation. Militants operating in Kashmir were not capable of such meticulous planning and could only carry out fidayeen attacks or plant bombs in crowded places like markets.

“A lot of planning went into the blasts. This is typical of an ISI operation, as was revealed during the 1993 Bombay blasts,” said an officer.

It also appeared typical of an al-Qaeda operation, at least on the surface. AQ frequently targets transportation systems at high-volume periods. They also prefer to target financial centers, and when possible to combine the two. Synchronization also is one of the AQ's MOs. The Indians have captured a number of people from the cells that organized the attack, however, and the intel they have apparently points more towards ISI than AQ.

This could lead to a chicken-egg argument. Did the Mumbai attacks come from AQ or the ISI? Did the ISI teach these tactics to al-Qaeda -- or do they still assist AQ in operational planning of such attacks? Does Pervez Musharraf have control over his own intel service, or does the ISI have a rogue element that supports international Islamist terrorism?

Clearly these attacks received heavy assistance from outside the country. If Pakistan's spies conducted this operation, then Pakistan has committed an act of war against India -- and that will get a lot more serious than an Israeli incursion into Lebanon. Both nations have nuclear weapons, although both at the moment have rational leaders who will not want to test the MAD strategy all the way to its conclusion. If Musharraf wants to avoid touching off a punishing ground war, he had better get control of his ISI in a big hurry.

If, on the other hand, AQ masterminded the plot, it does not let Musharraf off the hook. He needs to get serious about flushing Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri from their caves in Waziristan before they get him and a lot of Pakistanis killed.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 14, 2006 9:16 AM

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» Did Pakistani Intelligence Plan India Bombings? from Hyscience
Terrorism has many sources and claimed justifications, but if it can be said to have a centre, it lies in the training camps, madrassas and battlefields of northern Pakistan and south-eastern Afghanistan. [Read More]

Tracked on July 14, 2006 12:28 PM

» Subcontinental Disarray from Occidentality
The situation between India and Pakistan seems to have coagulated into an icy standoff. India seems certain that the Mumbai attacks were directed by "elements" within the Pakistani government, and that the leaders of that government have the ability ... [Read More]

Tracked on July 14, 2006 1:18 PM


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