Strategic and security analysts in the US and from across the world are examining Pakistan’s role in terrorism following the horrific terror unleashed in Mumbai.
Initial reports suggested the Mumbai carnage was a localised attack by militant malcontents in India because of the Deccan Mujaheddin decoy that was used to claim responsibility.
However, evidence cited by Indian army and security experts based on phone intercepts, nature of weaponry, mode of entry by sea and level of terrorists’ expertise, has quickly focused the attention on Pakistan.
The statement by India’s normally cautious and restrained prime minister, Manmohan Singh, that groups based across the border, a thinly-disguised reference to Pakistan, has also galvanized the strategic and security community into examining Islamabad’s role in the region that has already been subjected to scrutiny in the past.
Jane’s Country Risk Daily Report in an assessment on Thursday discounted an internal insurgent attack and said the apparent focus on killing or capturing foreign businesspeople, specifically US and UK nationals, which has never occurred before, also suggested a wider global anti-Western agenda. This stands in contrast to the national issues that appeared to motivate Indian Mujahideen, it said.
Experts also said the heavy weaponry, grenades, and the sustained attack pointed to intense training and planning beyond the scope of indigenous groups.
Other intelligence experts and websites also zeroed in on Pakistan’s role in the region. Washington Examiner noted that there had been reports from credible sources for years that Pakistani ISI had used terrorist groups to conduct war-by-proxy against India.
Islamist ideology had been spreading across South Asia, and must be stamped out said California Congressman Ed Royce.
Bruce Riedel, a veteran CIA officer and former senior director for South Asia and the Middle East on the White House National Security Council, said the attacks had the hallmarks of an al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic group such as Lashkar-e Toiba (LeT), which is based in Pakistan and has links to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
British intelligence officials have also expressed suspicion of al-Qaeda’s hand in Mumbai attacks. Spy agencies around the world had little warning of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, which bore some al-Qaida hallmarks but appears unlikely to be linked to the group’s core leadership, global intelligence officials said on Thursday.