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NSG chief blames Al Qaeda for 26/11, backtracks

February 11, 2009 20:28 IST

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Did Osama bin Laden's [Images] Al Qaeda [Images] terror network have a hand in the unprecedented Mumbai terror attacks [Images]?

It appears so if National Security Guards Director General J K Dutt's assessment is a pointer. "The Mumbai terror attack was an audacious attempt by the Taliban [Images], Al Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Taiyba combine to shape policies of the three sovereign nations that include the oldest and the largest democracy," Dutt said in his inaugural speech at an international seminar being organised by the National Bomb Data Centre.

"There is growing concern over the convergence of the objectives of terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda and the Lashkar e Taiyba. The Mumbai terror attack of November 26 last year represents this convergence of interests," Dutt said.

But Dutt's remark, which was aired on television, is reported to have not gone down well with the Union Home Ministry officials as it could be seen as sensationalising the attack by bringing in Al Qaeda's name.

Immediately, the NSG machinery swung into action for an apparent damage control. The director general of the force himself is reported to have called the television reporters present at the seminar to 'issue a clarification', saying his comments were in the context of the global scenario of terrorism.

The comments from Dutt, who will be demitting office at the end of this month, came a day after a video recording showed a top Al Qaeda commander warning India of more Mumbai-style terror attacks if it tried to attack Pakistan.

Dutt, who led the commando operations during Mumbai attacks, said, "With the resurgence of the Taliban, the region astride the Durand line -- the international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan -- appears to be spiraling out of control as the writ of the law in the region is at best tenuous".

"The LeT has morphed from a Kashmir centric terror group to a transnational terror group that aspires to fight Jihad across the globe," he added.

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