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Pakistani Intel Officer, Mumbai Plotters Said to Meet Hours Before Attack

Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India, during the 2008 terrorist attacks on the city that killed more than 160 people. A Pakistani intelligence officer met with perpetrators of the assault hours before it took place, U.S. and Indian counterterrorism officials quoted an alleged participant in the strikes as saying to Indian police (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri). Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India, during the 2008 terrorist attacks on the city that killed more than 160 people. A Pakistani intelligence officer met with perpetrators of the assault hours before it took place, U.S. and Indian counterterrorism officials quoted an alleged participant in the strikes as saying to Indian police (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri).

An accused participant in the 2008 terrorist assault on the Indian city of Mumbai has described witnessing a high-level Pakistani intelligence operative speak in person with perpetrators of the massacre less than a day before it took place, two news organizations reported on Thursday (see GSN, July 5).

The November 2008 strikes that killed more than 160 people were organized and carried out by the Pakistan-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. New Delhi responded to the assault by pulling out of peace talks with Islamabad and accused the fellow nuclear-armed government of not doing enough to suppress the terrorist organizations that operate from its territory.

Pakistan has officially denied having any link to the 2008 strikes. The two nations' comprehensive peace process resumed last year.

Sayeed Zabiudeen Ansari, an Indian man taken into custody in June on suspicion of supporting the strikes, recounted witnessing Maj. Samir Ali of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency confer with planners of the assault at a control site in the Pakistani city of Karachi, U.S. and Indian antiterrorism authorities said in a joint report by ProPublica and Foreign Policy magazine.

A second Pakistani intelligence insider, referred to as "Colonel Hamza," aided Ansari in visiting Saudi Arabia to transfer funds for Lashkar-e-Taiba and win into service additional Indian practitioners of Islam, government personnel quoted the detained individual as stating in a formal account to Indian law enforcement.

David Headley, a confessed accomplice to the strikes, earlier named both individuals as participants in his preparation and instruction as a worker for the Pakistani intelligence service (see GSN, June 10, 2011). Ali also collaborated extensively with "Major Iqbal," Headley's ISI liaison and a key figure in preparing for the strikes, authorities have determined (Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica/Foreign Policy, Aug. 9).

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Country Profile

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Pakistan

This article provides an overview of Pakistan’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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