Recent Developments in the Mumbai Massacre effect on Pakistani-Indian relations:
Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant group suspected of conducting the Mumbai attacks, has quietly gained strength in recent years with the help of Pakistan’s main spy service, assistance that has allowed the group to train and raise money while other militants have been under siege, American intelligence and counterterrorism officials say. American officials say there is no hard evidence to link the spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, to the Mumbai attacks. But the ISI has shared intelligence with Lashkar and provided protection for it, the officials said, and investigators are focusing on one Lashkar leader they believe is a main liaison with the spy service and a mastermind of the attacks.
The authorities in Pakistan have raided a camp run by the Pakistani-based militant group suspected by Indian and American officials of conducting the Mumbai attacks, a Pakistani official and an American military official said.
In the first hours after news of the raid emerged on Pakistani television and in news agencies, a senior Pakistani security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that a man suspected of being the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks had been arrested. But the same official later said that even though about a dozen people had been arrested in the raid at the camp, the suspect, Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, had not been arrested.
First off, this is the second major claim by a US intelligence official connecting Pakistan’s ISI with Lashkar militants being blamed by India and the US for the Mumbai Massacre, and this claim makes the relationship between the entities seem a little closer. Assisting the Lashkar militants in training and funding does not directly implicate Pakistani officials in the Mumbai attack (An American counterterrorism official said: “It’s one thing to say the ISI is tied to Lashkar and quite another to say the ISI was behind the Mumbai attacks. The evidence at this point doesn’t get you there.”), but it is too darn close.
States are supposed to be responsible for what goes on in their borders and when elements from within their borders causes security issues for other countries, it is an international security problem. The ISI helped to create Lashkar-e-Taiba to fight for Pakistani’s rights in the Kashmir region and it appears the government, or at least the ISI and military, have continued to align themselves with the group. I have been covering Pakistan’s military actions in regards to supporting/battling insurgent groups in and around Afghanistan and they are a maddening to follow, as at times it seems that they are fighting the insurgents bravely and with much sacrifice, but at so many other times, they have been found to be not only in bed with the militants, but seemingly proposing marriage as well!
How is one (say the US, India, Afghanistan) supposed to deal with such an unstable, disjointed, and schizophrenic state. In one way, the state is aiding and abetting terrorists, and at the same time arresting and raiding them. The Pakistani government is difficult to analyze because it is hard to know who is actually in charge at any one moment. Is it the Army Chief Kayani? The new civilian government lead by President Zardari? Is the ISI running the whole show, or just itself?
The US and India, and most likely a majority of Pakistani’s want a strong, stable government that can speak in one voice, but how does one help bring this about? India may want to retaliate for the Mumbai attack, but doing so would probably further destabilize a Pakistani state, which though deeply, deeply flawed is still better than the complete chaos of a failed one.
The rising conflict has already put US interests in Afghanistan on high alert as Pakistan has threatened to move nearly of its 100,000 Afghan border troops to its Indian border if the conflict grows. And just yesterday, in Peshawar, militants destroyed 160 vehicles meant to be deployed to support US/Allied forces in Afghanistan. Once again, Pakistani police and government officials were MIA.
Here is one of best pieces I have read about the conflict: Robert D. Kaplan’s ‘Trouble for the Other Middle East‘