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December 06, 2008

Indian Official: "Clear and Incontrovertible Proof" that Mumbai Attacks Planned by Pakistan Terror Group Lashkar-i-Taiba; Claims Further Group's Leaders Were "Trained and Supported" by the ISI

A US source says there's not enough evidence to establish a direct tie to ISI for the attacks themselves... which, in the scheme of things, is a pretty weak and nuanced denial.

A week after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Indian officials on Friday stepped up their efforts to draw a connection between the violence and Pakistani government agencies.

In New Delhi, a high-level source in the Indian government, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said India has "clear and incontrovertible proof" that an Islamist militant group based in Pakistan, Lashkar-i-Taiba, planned the attacks and that the group's leaders were trained and supported by Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI.

"We have the names of the handlers. And we know that there is a close relationship between the Lashkar and the ISI," the source said.

U.S. intelligence officials, however, were more cautious in their interpretation of the evidence. Although U.S. analysts acknowledged historical ties between Lashkar and ISI, as well as more recent contacts between militants and Pakistani intelligence officers, they said they were not convinced that Pakistan supported the attacks in any significant way.

"Even if there were contacts between ISI and Lashkar-i-Taiba, it's not the same as saying there was ISI support," said a U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The official would not dismiss the possibility that further evidence would reveal active ISI involvement but said: "The evidence we've seen so far does not get you there."

So the US, which is attempting to cool things down, seems to confess that the ISI trained L-i-T and has close connections to that terrorist group -- pretty much the L-i-T is a creature of the ISI -- but says there's not enough evidence so far to demonstrate direct, active ISI involvement in this particular terrorist attack.

That is about as damning a defense as conceivable. Short of declaring "I damn thee, I damn thee, I damn thee," I'm not sure how much more damaging that nuanced defense of the ISI could be.

Bear in mind the US ousted the Taliban for a less direct involvement in Al Qaeda's terrorist operations. The Taliban provided Al Qaeda with haven, protection, and privileges... but not training and not support.

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posted by Ace at 05:05 PM

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