Yesterday I noted the increase in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan in the three weeks since Pervez Musharraf signed a peace deal with the tribal chiefs in Waziristan and released thousands of captured Islamists. Today, the government of India now says that the train bombings in Mumbai this past July had the support of Pakistan’s ISI:
Mumbai police Commissioner A.N. Roy said an intensive investigation that included using truth serum on suspects revealed that Pakistan’s top spy agency had ”masterminded” the bombings.
Roy said Pakistan’s Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, began planning the attacks in March and later provided training to those who carried out the bombings in Bahawalpur, Pakistan.
”The terror plot was ISI sponsored and executed by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba operatives with help from the Students Islamic Movement of India,” Roy said at a news conference to announce the completion of the investigation.
Lashkar is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group, while the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, is a banned Islamic group.
So far 15 people have been arrested, including 11 Pakistanis, Roy said, adding that three Indians were still on the run and another Pakistani was killed in one of the blasts.
Many people wondered about the connections between the ISI and the two Islamist groups. The ISI was instrumental in assisting the Taliban to power in the 1990s and has always had Islamist sympathies. If India has evidence of the connections it alleges, one has to conclude that either the ISI has gone rogue or Musharraf’s surrender was worse than first imagined.
The Bush administration has taken the right first steps, which is to call Musharraf into conference with Hamid Karzai and attempt to force Musharraf to act responsibly about his own border. If that works, then perhaps Musharraf can address the unhelpful elements in the ISI. If it does not, then perhaps the American military can start respecting the Pakistani border much less in the future.
We refrained from pursuing terrorists into Pakistan for three reasons. First, it’s sovereign territory, and we didn’t want a war with Pakistan. Second, Musharraf assured us that he would pursue them himself, and for the first few years, he did. Lastly, any American incursions into Waziristan would have destabilized Musharraf and eliminated the assistance he provided us against the terrorists. Now that the second and third reasons no longer apply, it seems likely that we will not care anywhere near as much about Pakistani sovereignty or Musharraf’s status in Pakistan.