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ISI knew all about Mumbai attacks: IB

By Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru
January 06, 2009 14:54 IST
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On a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Mumbai attacks could not have been carried out without the support of official agencies in Pakistan, Intelligence Bureau sources told that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency had detailed knowledge of the planning and execution about the November 26 attack in Mumbai.

No terror operation in India is a success unless it is backed by the ISI, the IB sources added.

Piecing together information obtained from the confessions of several terrorists arrested in India, the IB sources said it can prove that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba could not even have planned the Mumbai attacks without the ISI's blessings, let alone execute it.

For the Mumbai attacks, youngsters identified by the Lashkar's handlers were said to have been trained at camps in Muridke and Thakot, in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The IB sources said intercepts suggest that every aspect of the training process was supervised by ISI agents and an army officer.

Terrorists who carry out attacks in Kashmir and Afghanistan are trained by ISI officers and army personnel, the IB officers said.

After completing the training programme in Thakot, the Lashkar, with the ISI's help, sent the Mumbai attackers to Karachi where they underwent naval training.

This operation was supervised by the Musa company of the Pakistan navy's Special Services Group.

The Musa company, under the ISI's supervision, imparted training in rough weather sailing.

IB agents said on its own, the Lashkar could not have carried out an operation with such precision. The fighting skills demonstrated in the Mumbai attacks revealed that the training was extremely sophisticated and this could only have been achieved with the Pakistan army and the ISI's sanction.

Sabahuddin Ahmed, the terrorist arrested for the January 1, 2008, attack on the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur district, told his interrogators that the ISI presence was visible at every stage of his interaction in Pakistan.

In his confession he said he had met several ISI officers and others from the Pakistan army. 'During one meeting with a Colonel Kiyani, I was asked if I wanted to join the ISI and help collect intelligence. I did not say anything at that time,' he told his interrogators.

Ahmed revealed that the ISI is extremely generous when its officers are pleased with an individual. 'The ISI was pleased with the work I was doing. Kiyani was so happy that on seeing me he pulled out Rs 25,000 and gave it to me,' an IB source quoted him as saying. Whether the Kiyani Ahmed referred to could have been Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who was formerly the ISI director, the IB source would not confirm to this correspondent.

Sources said Ahmed disclosed that every would-be jihadi is 'received in Pakistan by the ISI. First we are taken to a camp where the ISI officers host a meal for us. We are then taken in their vehicle and dropped off at the Lashkar camp,' he is said to have told his interrogators.

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru