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Militants determined to hit India again, officials say

By Lydia Polgreen and Souad Mekhennet
New York Times / September 30, 2009

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KARACHI - Ten months after the devastating attacks in Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants, the group behind the assault remains largely intact and determined to strike India again, according to current and former members of the group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and a range of intelligence officials.

Despite pledges from Pakistan to dismantle militant groups operating on its soil, and the arrest of a handful of operatives, Lashkar has persisted since 10 recruits killed 163 people in a rampage through Mumbai last November.

Indian and Pakistani dossiers on the Mumbai investigations, copies of which were obtained by The New York Times, offer a detailed picture of the operations of a Lashkar network that spans Pakistan.

It included four houses and two training camps here in this southern port city that were used to prepare the attacks.

Among the organizers, the Pakistani document says, was Hammad Amin Sadiq, a homeopathic pharmacist, who arranged bank accounts and secured supplies. He and six others begin their trial on Saturday in Pakistan, though Indian authorities say the prosecution stops well short of top Lashkar leaders.

Indeed, Lashkar’s broader network endures, and can be mobilized quickly for elaborate attacks with relatively few resources, according to a dozen current and former Lashkar militants and intelligence officials from the United States, Europe, India and Pakistan.

In interviews with the Times, they presented a troubling portrait of Lashkar’s capabilities, its popularity in Pakistan, and the support it has received from former officials of Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment.

Pakistan’s chief spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI, helped create Lashkar two decades ago to challenge Indian control in Kashmir.