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Kasab: 'We joined LeT so that we could get arms training for criminal activity'

March 20, 2009
After a brief silence, Kasab began: 'I studied up to fourth standard and then in the year 2000 I dropped out of school and went to Lahore. I stayed there with my brother Afzal who was staying at House No. 12, Galli No. 54, Mohalla Tohidabad, near Yadgar Minar. I did the job of a construction worker till 2005. In between I visited my village many times. Finally in 2005, I quit my job and went back to my village, thinking I would stay there.

'But my father scolded me and I left home and went to Ali Hajveri Darbar at Lahore. It was a kind of shelter home for young homeless boys and the management there used to assist us in finding employment. I found employment with a contractor called Shafiq who was in the catering business. For the next two years I worked with him at his shop called 'Welcome Tent Service'. But the money I earned was never enough. Around this time Shafiq, a friend of mine, and I carried out a few small robberies. We then decided to plan a robbery big enough to fetch us lakhs of rupees in one go, 'Kasab revealed.

The transformation in Kasab's persona was radical. A few hours back he had portrayed himself as a timid, obedient son waylaid by his greedy, selfish father. Now, with the threat of being exposed by fellow terrorists staring him in the face, Kasab unveiled his true side willingly. Yes. He was a labourer and his father was a poor vendor. But it was he who had taken to crime, prompted by his own needs, initiated into the world of violence not by his father but by a criminal friend. An indifferent father was just a ruse to earn sympathy from the police.

'We wanted to acquire weapons. But it was not easy,' Kasab continued. 'After much deliberation we thought we would join the LeT. We thought we would get both weapons and training to operate them. We filled up a few forms and joined the organisation. At Muridke we went through an induction period of twenty-one days. The trainers were very strict and everything from namaz to lunch to dinner happened with clockwork precision. But in the first three weeks we were not trained to operate firearms. I was not enjoying it much but Shafiq said that in the next phase we would be imparted the arms training. After the completion of the first phase, we were taken to a small village in Mansera where we were given initial training of handling AKs, Uzi guns and pistols. We were also given lectures on Islam and Hadith. We were told that our religion was in danger and Muslims were being killed everywhere. That was when I decided I would not go back to robbery but would continue with the LeT.

'I went home in between and returned to participate in a training camp at a hilly area called Chelabandi in PoK. Here we were trained to handle explosives, rocket launchers and mortars. At the end of the three months' training period thirty-two of us were selected by Zaki chacha for waging jihad. Sixteen were sent for some operation, the details of which I don't know. Out of the remaining sixteen, three escaped from the camp. We, the remaining thirteen, were then sent to a training camp at Muridke. Abu Kahfa was our leader. Here we were trained to operate GPS instruments and to navigate boats in the sea. We were conditioned to sail on the high seas for long. We were taught swimming as well. After the training was over I went home to see my mother. After a week I returned to the LeT camp at Muzaffarabad. The thirteen of us were again trained to sail on the seas and navigate boats.

'Zaki chacha then sent six from amongst us for some operation in Kashmir. Three other men then joined us. They had already been mujahids for some time and had done operations elsewhere. One among them was Ismail. He was made the leader of our group. In the second week of September we were shifted to an LeT safe house at Azizabad in Karachi. Here we were told to carry out the Mumbai operation. I was only informed about the VT station attack which was entrusted to me. The operation was initially planned for 27 September but then got delayed, the reasons for which I do not know. We then whiled away our time. We were given the best food and the best clothes. Zaki chacha said we could have anything in the world we wanted before setting out for Mumbai. Initially, we knew each other only by our code names. But soon we told each other our real names, though we were not supposed to. But we bonded well and shared many personal details.'

'So tell me all the real names and the addresses of your accomplices?'

'Ismail's full name is Ismail Khan. He is from Dera Ismail Khan in North West Frontier Province. Abu Ali's real name is Javed. He is around twenty-two years old and he and I come from the same district -- Okara. Abu Fahad's real name is Fahadullah and he too hails from my district. Abu Aakasha is Babar Imran and he is from Multan. I don't know the name of his village. Abu Soheb is Shoaib and he is the youngest among us. He is from village Shakkargarh Naroval in Sialkot. Abu Umar's true name is Nasir and he comes from Faisalabad. Abu Umer too is from Faisalabad. His real name is Nazeer. He is the oldest among us. Abu Rehman Bada is actually Hafiz Arshad and he is from Multan. Abu Rehman Chhota is also from Multan and his true name is Abdul Rehman.' Kasab finally gave away the real names of his group members.

Later, Maria shared these names with the RAW that, through its undercover agents in Pakistan, collected more information on them.

'Who else besides Zaki has trained you?'

'Abu Hamza, Abu Al Qama, Abu Kahfa and Yousuf alias Muzammil were the other trainers.'

'When you were sailing towards Mumbai who all did you speak to on the sat phone from the deck?'

'Ismail did most of the talking. He was speaking to many in the LeT including Muzammil.'

'Who did he make the last conversation with about the five bakras?'

'It was Muzammil.'

'Who provided you the maps of your targets?'

'I don't know. I was just shown a CD of the VT station. I assume others too were shown similar CDs of their respective targets. But we were never told about the LeT operatives active in Mumbai or at other places in India.'

In a few weeks, the crime branch investigation revealed that two LeT terrorists -- Faheem Ansari and Mohammad Sabahuddin -- who were arrested by the UP police earlier that year, on charges of abetting and aiding in another terror case, had provided the maps and the video footage of the CST, the Oberoi, the Taj and Nariman House to their LeT bosses in Pakistan. They were allegedly involved in the killing of seven paramilitary troops in an audacious attack at a CRPF camp in Rampur on 1 January 2008.

Image: The LeT headquarters at Muridke in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Also see:
'Absolute perversion of Islam'
Video: Daughter salutes her father

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