(Moshe Holtsberg, the two year old orphan of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka slain at the seige on the Mumbai Jewish Centre, cries during their memorial service in Mumbai on Monday)
On hearing that Ajmal Amir Qasab, the one surviving suspect from last week's jihadi terrorist attacks in Mumbai last week, has supposedly admitted to being a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba I immediately remembered this NYT article - Militants escape control of Pakistan, Officials say - by Carlotta Gall and David Rhode (which I linked to) from last January.
A huge story then, getting bigger all the time:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s premier military intelligence agency has lost control of some of the networks of Pakistani militants it has nurtured since the 1980s, and is now suffering the violent blowback of that policy, two former senior intelligence officials and other officials close to the agency say.
MIDWAY through last week’s murderous rampage in Mumbai, one of the suspected gunmen at the besieged Jewish center called a popular Indian TV channel. Speaking in Urdu (the primary language of Pakistan and many Indian Muslims), he ranted against the recent visit of an Israeli general to the Indian-ruled section of the Kashmir Valley. Referring to the Pakistan-backed insurgency in the valley, and the Indian military response to it, he asked, “Are you aware how many people have been killed in Kashmir?”
In a separate phone call, another gunman invoked the oppression of Muslims by Hindu nationalists and the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992. Such calls were the only occasions on which the militants, whom initial reports have tied to the Pakistani jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, offered a likely motive for their indiscriminate slaughter. Their rhetoric seems all too familiar. Nevertheless, it shows how older political conflicts in South Asia have been rendered more noxious by the fallout from the “war on terror” and the rise of international jihadism.
American pressure after 9/11 forced Pakistan’s president, Pervez Musharraf, to ban Lashkar-e-Taiba, which had developed links with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. With General Musharraf’s departure from office in September, it would be no surprise if this turned out to be the Muslim group’s first major atrocity since 2001.
Pakistan’s new civilian government is too weak to control either the extremist groups within the country or the various rogue elements within its military and intelligence. The American military was reported to have started bombing supposed terrorist hideouts inside Pakistan’s borders even as General Musharraf stumbled to the exit. As its increasingly desperate pleas to the Bush administration to stop the attacks go unheeded, Pakistan’s government appears pathetically helpless to its own citizens.
The sense of humiliation and impotence that this loss of sovereignty creates in Pakistan, a country with a strong tradition of populist nationalism, cannot be underestimated.
Meanwhile, India’s influence in Afghanistan has grown as it pours reconstruction money into the country, as have its military ties with Israel. Add to this the Bush administration’s decision to reward India with an extraordinarily generous nuclear deal and to more or less ignore Kashmir, where in August Indian security forces brutally suppressed the biggest nonviolent demonstrations in the valley’s history, and recent attacks against the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, and now in Mumbai begin to appear to be connected by more than chronology.
Meanwhile, Indian intelligence experts and others suspect that jihadists and disaffected members of Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence agencies have forged closer links and, as the string of recent bomb attacks on Indian cities reveals, are rapidly making new allies among the 13 percent of Indians who are Muslim.