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'26/11 revelations could wreck US-Pak ties'

July 28, 2010 14:46 IST

Pakistan should carry out a thorough house cleaning of its military after revelations by Mumbai terror accused Da Headley that its spy agency Inter Services Intelligence had links to the attackers, a former Central Intelligence Agency official has said.

"Thanks to David Headley's extraordinary confessions, we now know how thoroughly Lashkar-e-Tayiba planned its 2008 Mumbai attack and how closely linked it is to Al Qaeda - and perhaps to the Pakistani military," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and now with the prestigious Brookings Institute.

"There is no excuse for not executing a more robust crack down on Lashkar-e-Tayiba and its front organisations from the Pakistani government and for not conducting a thorough house cleaning within the Pakistani army," Riedel said commenting on the recent statements of top Indian officials that Headley's interrogations had given ample proof of ISI's involvement in the Mumbai terrorist attack.

"Headley revelations, if true, paint a picture of official Pakistani military cooperation in an act of mass causality terror that raises very worrisome and alarming questions about our most important partner and India's nuclear-armed neighbour," he said.

"The truth about Mumbai and the future of LeT is the ticking time bomb that could wreck the nascent US-Pakistan partnership Secretary Clinton is rightly trying to build and that could take the subcontinent to disaster," Riedel said.

The former CIA official, who helped draft the new Afghanistan policy of the Obama administration, said Headley is a convicted conspirator and may have his own reasons to mislead and lie, but his newest accusations are raising a firestorm in India.

According to leaked information to the Indian press last week, Headley reportedly told his Indian interrogators that Pakistani intelligence paid for the boat that took the 10 terrorists from Karachi to Indian waters and that Pakistani naval frogmen had provided intensive commando training for them.

The sole survivor of the terror team who has been convicted of murder in India apparently has also told Indian investigators about the naval training.

India's Home Secretary G K Pillali said that the Headley revelations show that Pakistani intelligence was "literally controlling and coordinating the attack from the beginning to end."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Kabul said that Headley's comments have included "a revealing set of facts" which the United States has now shared with the Pakistanis.

"Washington and New Delhi are both now waiting for Islamabad to respond. The Indians who have resumed their official dialogue with Pakistan after suspending it in the wake of 26/11 seem uncertain about how to proceed next. They have suspected Pakistani collusion in the Mumbai attacks from the start but could not prove it before Headley's statements," Riedel said.

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