Pakistan arrests 15 over Mumbai attacks
7 hours ago
ISLAMABAD (AFP) — Pakistan responded to intense pressure from the US to take action after the Mumbai attacks by arresting 15 people in a raid on a camp in the disputed region of Kashmir,
an intelligence official said Monday.
The arrests, which were made late Sunday, came as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said there was evidence Pakistan had been used by "non-state actors" to mount the deadly attacks on India's financial capital.
"I do think that Pakistan has a responsibility to act," she said in a television interview.
The 15 arrested in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir were from an Islamic charity closely linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which India accuses of being behind the 60-hour siege, the intelligence official said.
"Security forces raided a relief camp set up by Jamaat-ud-Dawa," he said.
The operation was staged to get details about "the activities of the group in Kashmir in the wake of allegations by India that LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) was using Pakistani territory for training," he said.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa is run by Hafiz Saeed, who founded Lashkar-e-Taiba in 1989. He abandoned the group when it was outlawed after India alleged it was behind a 2001 attack on parliament in New Delhi.
The Mumbai siege left 172 people dead, including nine gunmen, and has badly soured ties between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours, which have fought three wars since independence from Britain.
One gunmen survived and is being interrogated by Indian authorities.
India says all 10 gunmen involved in the assault came from Pakistan, and has handed Islamabad a list of 20 terror suspects, with demands for their arrest and extradition.
Pakistani police arrested the 15 suspects near the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, where Laskhar is active.
Pakistan daily Dawn quoted residents as saying troops had taken control of land on the outskirts of the town occupied by Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a site used by Lashkar before the Pakistan government banned the group in 2002.
Pakistani government officials refused to confirm or deny the arrests.
On Sunday, Rice -- who visited both India and Pakistan in the wake of the attacks -- said Islamabad must act quickly to help India prevent follow-on assaults.
But she and Pakistan's foreign ministry denied media reports that Islamabad agreed to a 48-hour timetable set by the United States and India to take action against Pakistanis accused of involvement in the attacks.
Meanwhile, US counter-terrorism and military officials are reassessing their view of Lashkar, and believe it to be more capable and a greater threat than they had previously recognized, The New York Times reported Monday.
Citing unnamed US intelligence officials, the daily said Lashkar had gained strength in recent years with the help of Pakistan's main spy service, which has allowed the group to train and raise money.
But US officials said there was no hard evidence linking Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to the Mumbai attacks, the report said.
AFP: Pakistan arrests 15 over Mumbai attacks