Lashkar Just Won’t Own Up..

December 2, 2008

As the U.S. deploys strategic “officials” to brief the world’s media on who it thinks carried out the Mumbai attacks last week, the group that Washington and New Delhi have decided to finger has given an interview in which it categorically denies responsibility.

This is potentially rather embarassing for those great powers seeking to pin the attacks on Lashkar-e-Toiba.

As Lashkar spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi tells AKI’s Syed Saleem Shahzad today, the Mumbai attacks were “definitely an inside job from within the Indian establishment.”

Ghaznavi tells Shahzad that such assistance would have been indispensible. “Otherwise,” he asks, “tell me how the boat, on which those attackers reached Mumbai, avoided Indian naval radars guarding Indian territorial waters everywhere and how any Pakistani fisher trawler can mistakenly enter into their waters, even a mile inside, and they don’t leave any stone unturned to immediately arrest him?”

According to Ghaznavi, speaking for Lashkar, “Our activities are restricted to Kashmir and also against the Indian occupying troops in Indian-held Kashmir.”

He also reminded readers that “If you go through our past records. If we really carried out any action against the Indian forces in Kashmir we proudly claim it” before “denouncing” the Mumbai attacks.

Ghaznavi’s refutation comes as the U.S. has chosen to intensify its focus on Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Pakistan state in general. The BBC has run a piece quoting the usual “unnamed officials” who believe that there are “strong indications” incriminating Lashkar.

The spin from Washington has been repeated by Reuters whose correspondent has consulted a “senior State Department official.” The AP quotes “counterterrorism officials” in its dispatch, one of whom dangles the “real possibility of a Kashmiri connection” before readers.

Clearly Washington wants a few “favors” from Islamabad. As the BBC reports, “US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit India on Wednesday and the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says India will present its case against Pakistan and try to persuade Washington to apply diplomatic pressure on Islamabad to comply with its demands.

Truth, on the other hand, is a long way off. The case against Lashkar-e-Toiba is staggeringly weak. The gaps in the leaked narrative emanating from the interrogation of Kasab are broadening.


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