The 26/11 Mumbai attacks have been one of the most debated events in India’s history with terrorism. 10 years on, Indian authorities are still scrambling to bring the culprits into custody. Especially, David Coleman Headley (Daood Sayed Gilani), a Pakistani-American terrorist majorly involved in the Mumbai attacks. A year after the attacks, he was arrested by US forces and subjected to rigorous investigations. Here are a few things he revealed during the inquiries.
1. LeT made several attempts to attack Mumbai
The attack on Mumbai in November 2008 was not the first one attempted by LeT. The same 10 terrorists had also made attempts in September 2008, and then a month later, in October.
2. ISI directly involved in LeT funding
Headley disclosed ISI’s support to LeT and other terror outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen, who were targeting India. In fact, the Mumbai attacks were possible only because of the “complete support of the ISI”. The money used by Headley to conduct surveillance activities in Mumbai was provided by Major Iqbal from ISI.
It has been largely accepted in India that ISI had a hand in the 26/11 attacks. But despite Headley’s confession, Pakistan’s government had denied any such involvement.
Only recently, however, Pakistan’s ousted PM, Nawaz Sharif, publicly acknowledged that militant organisations were active in his country and that the 26/11 attackers were from Pakistan. He further questioned Pakistan’s policies to allow such militants to cross the border and kill people in Mumbai.
Indian ministers view this as a very serious disclosure and have reinforced their narrative of the attacks being operated from Pakistan.
3. His LeT contact person was Sajid Mir…
..a 38-year-old Pakistani national, who was one of the oldest members of LeT and the head of its Lahore unit. Apart from Mir, Headley also identified other ISI officials involved with LeT, namely Major Ali, Colonel Hamza and Brigadier Riyaz.
4. 26/11 mastermind was Hafiz Saeed “Sahib”, head of LeT
Every major action of the LeT is undertaken only after the approval of the terror group’s founder, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. In fact, the latter and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi were the masterminds of the Mumbai attack. Both of them used to give speeches on “jihad” to LeT members and teach them that India was the enemy of Islam.
5. Headley hated India since school
During the 1971 India-Pakistan war, Headley’s school was bombed. He lost his friends and teachers in the attack, an event that took a heavy toll on him. He said he hated India since then and always thought of avenging the death of his close ones.
In October 2009, David Headley was arrested in Chicago by US forces for the Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed. Indian authorities have repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, demanded the extradition of Headley to India. He is, however, serving a 35-year term in the US currently.