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Pakistan: No evidence to link LeT to 2009 attack

News18

Updated: April 24, 2011, 9:38 PM IST
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Pakistan: No evidence to link LeT to 2009 attack
There is also no evidence with Pakistani authorities linking the LeT to militant groups operating in Pakistan.

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities have no evidence linking the Lashkar-e-Taiba to the 2009 suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul or suggesting that the banned group has "global aspirations", the country's chief military spokesman has said.

"There is no evidence that the LeT has global aspirations or was involved in the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul," Maj Gen Athar Abbas, the head of the
Inter-Services Public Relations, said during an interaction with a group of Indian journalists.

The LeT is a "banned group that is being contained", he said without giving details.

There is also no evidence with Pakistani authorities linking the LeT to militant groups operating in Pakistan's tribal areas, Abbas said in response to questions.

At the same time, Abbas said that militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri, described by Indian and US officials as a key suspect in the Mumbai terror attacks, had played an "instrumental" role in planning an attack on the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi in October 2009.

Kashmiri was also involved in two attempts to assassinate former President and Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf in late 2003, Abbas said.

He indicated that Kashmiri, who led a "splinter" group or breakaway faction of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was working with the local Taliban.

Earlier this month, the US announced a reward of five million dollars for anyone who provides information and helps in the arrest of Kashmiri, the commander of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami terror group that supports Al Qaeda.

During a visit to Islamabad last week, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said the LeT is more than an anti-India terror group as it has "global aspirations" and had extended its reach to the West.

Abbas was also asked about efforts by Pakistani authorities to prosecute the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and he said this was primarily the job of the Interior Ministry.

"A splinter group was involved and we have collected the maximum evidence," he said.

LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was "heading the splinter group" responsible for the terrorist assault on India's financial hub in November 2008, he said.

Authorities are now following the due process of law to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, he said.

Responding to specific questions about the alleged involvement of Pakistani army personnel in the attacks, Abbas did not rule out the possibility that some retired officers could have been linked to the incident. Abbas dismissed reports about the alleged involvement of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency in the incident, saying, "Nothing could be further from the truth."

He added, "We realise we are in the line of fire. We are taking steps to prevent events like Mumbai attacks and the botched car bombing at Times Square in New York."

Asked whether the Pakistani armed forces had evidence to back up the civilian government's allegation that India was fomenting unrest in Balochistan province, Abbas made a guarded response and said "no insurgency could survive without sanctuary and material support" from outside the country.

Without naming India, he indicated that elements in Afghanistan were backing Baloch nationalist groups.

"These are rag-tag groups and they need money and resources," he said.

First Published: April 24, 2011, 9:38 PM IST
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