Alleged Mumbai Masterminds Test Pakistan

Banned terror group has operated for years with elite backing
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2008 6:42 AM CST
A Pakistani Islamist student wears headband reading: "God is Great" as he shouts anti-US and anti-Indian slogans during a demonstration in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
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(Newser) – As evidence mounts that the Mumbai attackers had links to a Pakistani militant organization, the nation's new civilian government is facing the toughest test yet of its ability—and its will—to stop terrorism. Pakistan has banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group blamed for the attacks. But the Islamist group has operated openly in Lahore for years, writes the New York Times, often with the support of Pakistan's intelligence agencies.

US sources suspect former officers of helping train the Mumbai attackers, and one Lashkar leader in Lahore is said to have fielded cell phone calls from them. The one captured attacker in Mumbai has said he met with the top leader of Lashkar, Yusuf Muzammil, but India says he knows nothing about the organization's plans. "He was only a foot soldier," said a chief of Mumbai police. The group's focus seems to be evolving from Kashmir to global jihad, the Times notes.