26/11: A Look at the Pawns, the Puppets and the Perpetrators
Ajmal Kasab and nine other terrorists were mere pawns, some of their bosses are still walking free across the border
India will never forget 26 November 2008, the day 10 armed terrorists attacked the city of Mumbai, killing more than 160. Shootings, bombings, the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists unleashed a nightmare on the city of dreams.
On 21 November 2012, Ajmal Kasab, who was captured alive by the Mumbai police, was hanged to death. The other nine terrorists – Hafiz Arshad, Abdul Rahman Chhota, Javed alias Abu Ali, Fahadullah alias Abu Fahad, Ismail Khan, Babar Imran , Nasir alias Abu Umar, Nazir alias Abu Umer and Shoaib alias Abu Soheb – were all shot dead during the attacks.
But these men were mere puppets, taking orders from their bosses across the border. Here is a quick look at the planners, mediators and executors of the attacks.
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed
Status: Currently under house arrest in Pakistan
One of the co-founders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Saeed has been named as one of the chief conspirators of the heinous attacks.
He is believed to have supervised the training sessions of the ten attackers. It is believed that he wished them luck before they set sail on the mission. Since 2008, various Indian politicians and leaders have demanded that Saeed be handed over, but there is no extradition treaty between the two countries. He has been placed under house arrest in Pakistan since January 2017.
Status: Currently in a US prison
Between 2007 and 2008, Headley made five trips to Mumbai, scouting local landmarks so the terrorists could carry out the attacks. Headley stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and surveyed the building using his ISI training. He shot videos and took pictures while touring the hotel from inside. The 10 militants carried out the attacks as per the details gathered by Headley during his trips.
He was arrested in Chicago in May 2009. Headley was prosecuted by a Mumbai special court in early February 2016 – via a video trial from his prison cell in the United States.
Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi
Status: Released on bail in Pakistan
Identified as one of the prime planners of the attack, Lakhvi is one of the top leaders of the LeT. He is said to have offered Kasab’s family a sum of Rs 1,50,000 for carrying out the attacks.
Arrested in Pakistan in December 2008, he was granted bail by the Pakistan court on a surety bond of $2,300 in 2015 on the basis of “lack of evidence,” as Pakistan claimed.
Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal
Status: Convicted, currently in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail
Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal was said to be present in Lashkar’s Karachi-based control room during the attacks. He later claimed that Hafiz Saeed was in the control room with him at the time. Jundal directed the 10 attackers to kill hostages and put forward specific demands before the media and the authorities.
The prime point contact for Headley, Mir’s whereabouts are currently unknown. He was last reported to be in a safehouse in Pakistan. Hamza's interrogation revealed that Mir visited India under fake names as a cricket match spectator to survey targets in Delhi and Mumbai for more than two weeks.
Status: Arrested, currently in Pakistan’s custody
Javed Iqbal was in charge of the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling platform used by the terrorists during the 26/11 attacks. Iqbal, who was based in Barcelona, is believed to have made payments in Spain and Italy to acquire the VoIP numbers used by the terrorists.
Hamad Amin Sadiq
Status: Arrested, currently in Pakistan’s custody
Arrested in February 2009, Sadiq had allegedly facilitated the money transfer for the attacks. Sadiq is currently in Pakistan facing charges.
Sheikh Abdul Khwaja
Status: Arrested, currently in India’s custody
One of the handlers of the attacks, he was the chief of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) India operations. He was detained in Sri Lanka in a successful RAW operation and was brought to India in January 2010.
Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed
Status: Arrested in Pak in 2009, later released
A former Major in the Pakistan army, he worked closely with the LeT and coordinated the activities of David Headley. He was arrested in 2009 in Pakistan but later released.
Tahawwur Hussain Rana
Status: Convicted, but found not guilty of 26/11 attacks
Accused of being Headly’s co-conspirator, he initially faced trial in Chicago in 2011 for plotting attacks on the offices of a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, which published controversial cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.
The jury convicted him of supporting LeT and conspiring to bomb Jyllands-Posten. He was however, not found guilty of plotting the 26/11 attacks.
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