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ISI's 26/11 plan hijacked by ex-Major, Kashmiri: Shahzad's book

June 02, 2011 16:37 IST
Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence had chalked out a "low-profile routine proxy operation" in India through the Lashkar-e-Tayiba but the plan was "hijacked" and turned into Mumbai attacks by an ex-Pakistan army major and terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri's men with Al Qaeda's blessings, according to a book written by slain journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad.

Excerpts from the book 'Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban -- beyond bin Laden and 9/11', published in the Dawn, give Shahzad's interpretations of how the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which claimed 166 lives, unfurled.

"With Ilyas Kashmiri's immense expertise on Indian operations, he stunned the Al Qaeda leaders with the suggestion that expanding the war theatre was the only way to overcome the present impasse. He presented the suggestion of conducting such a massive operation in India as it would bring India and Pakistan to war and with that all proposed operations against the Al Qaeda would be brought to a grinding halt. The Al Qaeda excitedly approved the attack-India proposal," the 40-year-old author, whose murder has sent shockwaves among the media and rights groups, said in the book released on May 20.

He said Kashmiri then handed over the plan to "a very able former army major Haroon Ashik", who was also an ex-LeT commander and was still very close to the LeT's Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi and Abu Hamza.

"Haroon knew about a plan by Pakistan's ISI that had been in the pipelines for several months with the official policy to drop it as it was to have been a low-profile routine proxy operation in India through LeT, Shahzad wrote.

The former army major, with the help of Kashmiri's men in India, hijacked the ISI plan and turned it into the devastating attacks that shook Mumbai on November 26, 2008 and brought Pakistan and India to the brink of a war, according to the book.


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