Friday, July 14, 2006

India: Intel Says Pakistan Planned Bombings

This promises be a long, hot summer, with new events sparking old conflicts to the boiling and even boiling-over point.

The Hindustan Times is reporting that Intelligence agencies have confirmed Pakistan's Inter-Services as responsible for the July 7 Bombay bombings.
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”.

As presented, the information in this article is a bit sketchy, so one hopes that more information will be forthcoming. (See this article also.)

Meanwhile, The Science Christian Monitor has published an article on militants in Pakistan and includes background information about the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and its links to Pakistan.
Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, which first emerged in 1993, has demonstrated a sophisticated capacity to carry out brutal, large-scale attacks, some of them deep inside Indian territory. Indian authorities implicated them in the 2001 attack on Parliament, which left 14 people dead, and also blame them for killing more than 100 people within two days in Indian-held Kashmir in 2000.

The group, which the US State Department describes as having several thousand members, was used as a proxy by the Pakistani Army and intelligence agencies against Indian forces in Kashmir throughout the 1990s, analysts say, when tensions between the nuclear rivals ran especially high. Receiving patronage and support from the state, it was also allowed to collect funds and recruit members openly.

The State Department describes its aid stream as including donations from Pakistanis in the Persian Gulf and Britain, as well as donations from Islamic nongovernmental organizations and Pakistani business people.

These open-ended operations changed, on paper at least, following the Sept. 11 attacks and President Bush's crackdown on international terrorist groups. In October 2001, Washington designated Lashkar-e-Tayyaba as a terrorist affiliate. Under US pressure, President Pervez Musharraf banned the group in 2002.

But many analysts say that Lashkar-e-Tayyaba merely changed its name. Calling itself Jamat-ud-Dawa, it said it was a welfare and educational organization, spreading the teachings of Wahhabi Islam through a large network of schools, hospitals and madrassahs.

The Monitor piece says it's too early to confirm who is directly responsible for the July 7 bombings, but given all three linked articles, it's hard to feel particularly optimistic. Goodness knows, we don't need any more lit matches thrown around in an increasingly volatile world. Unfortunately, that won't stop those determined to start fires.