Former Pak NSA admits role in 26/11
Former National Security Adviser of Pakistan MA Durrani admitted to Pakistan's role in 26/11 while speaking at the Asian Security Conference in Delhi. Admitting to Pakistan's role in the attack, he said, "the 26/11 Mumbai attack carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan is classic trans-border terrorist event." Afghanistan's NSA Mohammad Hanif Atmar also lambasted Pakistan for harbouring terrorists.
10 Pakistani members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic militant organisation, carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. The attacks ended on 28 November 2008, killing 164 and wounding over 308 people. Among the dead were 28 foreign nationals from 10-countries. 9 of the 10 attackers were killed in police action while 1 of them was captured.
The attacks started at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) where two attackers opened fire, killing 58 and injuring 104 others. After CST, they headed to the Cama hospital with an intention to kill patients but the hospital staff locked all of the patient wards. Two terrorists attacked the Leopold Cafe in South Mumbai, killing 10 and injured many other people.
Six explosions were reported at the Taj Mahal Hotel and Oberoi Trident. Two attackers had held over 200 people hostage inside the Taj Mahal Hotel who were rescued later by firefighters. Nariman House, a Chabad Lubavitch Jewish center in Colaba was taken over by two attackers and several residents were held hostage. Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife were killed in the Nariman attack.
According to the investigation, the attackers travelled by sea from Karachi, Pakistan, hijacked the Indian fishing trawler 'Kuber', killed the crew of four, then forced the captain to sail to Mumbai. US officials believed that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (I.S.I.) officers provided support to Lashkar-e-Taiba militants who carried out the attacks. Investigation revealed that the attacks were originally planned for 2006 but were dropped.
Abdul Rehman Bada, Abdul Rahman Chhota, Abu Ali, Fahad Ullah, Ismail Khan, Babar Imran, Abu Umar, Abu Sohrab, Shoaib alias Soheb were the terrorists who were neutralized in the National Security Guard and police action. Assistant Police Sub-Inspector Tukaram Omble gave up his life while trying to capture the terrorist Ajmal Kasab, while he was trying to escape in a car.
The lone captured terrorist Ajmal Kasab was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court on 29 August 2012 and was hanged in Pune's Yerwada Jail on 21 November 2012.
Apart from the civilians, 15 policemen and two NSG commandos were martyred. Among them were Joint Commissioner of Police Hemant Karkare and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte. Encounter specialist Senior Inspector Vijay Salaskar, senior inspector Shashank Shinde, NSG commandos Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Hawaldar Gajendra Singh were also martyred. Three railway officials of CST were also killed in the terror strike.
The news channels did a live coverage of the NSG operation during the 26/11 attacks which was heavily criticized by the Supreme Court. The commanders of terrorists watched the live coverage of the attacks and the actions taken by the security forces. This enabled them to co-ordinate the strikes by talking to the terrorists from their control room in Karachi.
The government of Maharashtra had announced Rs.500000 (US$7,500) as compensation to the kin of each of those killed in the terror attacks and Rs. 50000 (US$750) to the seriously injured.
Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency dropped the charges against Sufiyan Zafar, who was accused of being a financier of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Investigations had revealed that Zafar was an activist involved closely with Lashkar-e-Taiba and provided financial assistance to several of the organization's members. The prosecution has stated that investigations would continue, and the FIA would submit a separate file on Zafar.
The British government is likely to ask Pakistan to rein in terror outfits like the LeT and the JuD who have been held responsible for terror attacks in India. PM Theresa May is likely to bring it up during her bilateral visit to Pakistan scheduled for early 2017. The announcement is also part of the UK's growing assertiveness against countries harbouring terrorists.