Monday, December 1, 2008

Al-Qaeda 'hijack' led to Mumbai attack

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

MILAN - A plan by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) that had been in the pipelines for several months - even though official policy was to ditch it - saw what was to be a low-profile attack in Kashmir turn into the massive attacks on Mumbai last week.

The original plan was highjacked by the Laskar-e-Taiba (LET), a Pakistani militant group that generally focussed on the Kashmir struggle, and al-Qaeda, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200 people in Mumbai as groups of militants sprayed bullets and hand grenades at hotels, restaurants and train stations, as well as a Jewish community center.

The attack has sent shock waves across India and threatens to revive the intense periods of hostility the two countries have endured since their independence from British India in 1947.

There is now the possibility that Pakistan will undergo another about-turn and rethink its support of the "war in terror"; until the end of 2001, it supported the Taliban administration in Afghanistan. It could now back off from its restive tribal areas, leaving the Taliban a free hand to consolidate their Afghan insurgency.

A US State Department official categorically mentioned that Pakistan's "smoking gun" could turn the US's relations with Pakistan sour. The one militant captured - several were killed - is reported to have been a Pakistani trained by the LET.

More at Asia Times Online

File under "Blowback" and "Unintended Consequences" cross reference to "When you sleep with dogs expect to catch fleas."
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