Sunday, December 14, 2008

Training Young Men To Murder

The title above seems a more fitting title to this article from the Washington Post. I was not aware that Mumbai was attacked by terrorists in 1993 and 2006. There are many religious sects in India, mostly Hindus and Muslims. The Indian Interior Ministry estimates a presence of 275 terrorists organizations within the country. Recently the Home Minister, Shivraj Patil resigned in face of mounting criticism. From the beginning, I think most people believed more terrorists were involved than just the ten Islamist gunmen who carried out the attack, and mounting evidence seems to collaborate that. In the case of the hotels, it would seem there would have to be inside help already planted to carry out such an operation. The captured terrorist, a young 21 years of age initially expressed he had no regrets whatsoever. These people die for nothing and kill for nothing--believing in a false religion. It is heart breaking, some of these kids are indoctrinated with hatred as soon as they can read or follow a story, and they grow up programmed haters and some killers. Many grow up hating Jews, Christians, Hindus, and others unlike them hardly knowing why and not questioning Islamic doctrine perpetuating this unreasonable hatred. The One true God desires all come to repentance through Jesus, but He gives all people the freedom of making a choice for life (through Him) or for death (without Him). These kids grow up into killing machines, but sad as that is, this doesn't excuse their murderous actions. God has deposited a basic grasp of right and wrong; and even some of the most pagan of cultures throughout the centuries had rules and laws to govern their societies. Read the article below or click on the link to get more photos and additional information:

Alleged Terrorist Group Steers Young Men To Fight

Mumbai Suspect, Ex-Recruits Describe How Pakistan-Based Lashkar-e-Taiba Gave Them the Motivation and Skills to Kill

Captured terrorist suspect Mohammed Ajmal Kasab has repeatedly offered the same explanation to his interrogators for his role in the Mumbai attacks. "Islam is in danger," he says over and over, according to a senior Indian police official.

It was a message pumped into the 21-year-old by his trainers from the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, according to Indian police. To reinforce the message, Mr. Kasab and the nine other terrorists were shown videos of Hindu violence perpetrated on Indian Muslims, police say.

Mr. Kasab's account of his recruitment and training -- along with accounts from court papers and interviews with former recruits -- offers a portrait of how Lashkar-e-Taiba combines indoctrination with expert combat training to turn directionless, disconnected young men into deadly Islamist terrorists.

On Sunday, Pakistan security forces raided a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp where authorities believed militants linked to last month's Mumbai attack were located, a senior Pakistani official said.

Lashkar, whose teachings are often tailored specifically for attacks on the subcontinent, highlights two atrocities in the past two decades that have riled India's minority Muslim community and inspired acts of terrorism in India as well: A 1992 Hindu fundamentalist campaign to destroy the Babri Masjid, a mosque in Uttar Pradesh state, and the 2002 anti-Muslim rioting, in the town of Godhra in the western state of Gujarat, in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

The symbolism appears to have had the desired effect on Mr. Kasab. "He got a sense of purpose right away," says A.N. Roy, director general of the Maharashtra State Police. "He felt he was fighting for his religion."

Since the attacks, Indian police say Mr. Kasab has come to regret his actions and asked police to deliver a letter to his father. In it, according to Mr. Roy, he wrote in Urdu: "I did not go on the path you told me to. I did not realize that the path I was taking would lead me here. I went too far. I am now as good as dead. Nobody should go down this path."

Lashkar-e-Taiba, which started in the early 1990s and made its name challenging India's claims over Kashmir, has expanded its reach to wherever it perceives Muslims to be in danger. In the process, it has become one of the most deadly Islamic terrorist groups, a support at times for al Qaeda, and a route for Western extremists and converts to sign up for terrorism.

Foreign jihadis finding it increasingly difficult to get to al Qaeda directly have turned to Lashkar. Among the most famous Lashkar alumni: "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight in late 2001, and Dhiren Barot, who was arrested in 2004, and convicted two years later, for planning a deadly bombing plot in London and providing al Qaeda with materials to target U.S. financial buildings. Both are British citizens.

Pakistan banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, which means "Army of the Pure," under U.S. pressure in 2002, by which time thousands of young men already had trained in Lashkar camps, experts say. Despite the ban, Pakistan has allowed the group to hide in plain sight, doing little if anything to clamp down.

Lashkar's parent organization, a charitable group called Jamaat-ud-Dawa, or "Party of Preachers," is increasing in influence, especially in the central Pakistani province of Punjab, where it even arbitrates village disputes. At its headquarters in Muridke, a few hours' drive from Lahore, it runs a 75-acre campus with an Islamic university, two schools and a hospital. It has set up schools across Punjab and other parts of Pakistan where government schools are nonexistent or poorly funded.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa's educational activities, experts say, have turned it into an open door for young men from all over the world who are interested in exploring militant Islam and perhaps joining Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Lashkar-e-Taiba's founder, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, denies the group was involved in the Mumbai strikes, despite what Indian and U.S. officials say is substantial evidence. Pakistan also has cast doubt on the Indian version of events and on accounts of Mr. Kasab's testimony. President Asif Ali Zardari said he doubts the man Indian police had identified as Mr. Kasab is Pakistani.

According to police accounts, Mr. Kasab has said he is from a poor family of devout Muslims in the small, dusty village of Faridkot in Punjab. His father worked selling snacks out of a cart. One of five siblings, Mr. Kasab has said he dropped out of school when he was in fourth grade so he could help support the family, working as a casual laborer in his town of 3,000 people.

Most people in the Faridkot area work in farming or as laborers in nearby cities. The region, with its poor and undereducated population, has proved to be a fertile recruiting ground for militant Islamic groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In 2005, Mr. Kasab says, according to the police accounts, he moved to Lahore, where his brother was employed. Mr. Kasab worked for a time as a casual laborer, but then got into petty crime, he told police. In search of a source for weapons to commit crimes, Mr. Kasab met with some people who turned out to be recruiters for Lashkar-e-Taiba, he said.

The recruiters persuaded him to attend a training camp, where they showed him video footage of Hindu extremists demolishing the Babri Masjid and Hindu mobs killing Muslims in the aftermath of the burning of a train full of Hindu pilgrims passing through Godhra in 2002.

The two incidents are those most cited in complaints by Indian Muslims about how majority-Hindu India has ignored and persecuted them despite India's democracy and secular constitution. Indian Mujahedeen, a terror outfit with alleged links to Lashkar-e-Taiba, cited the events in emails taking responsibility for a series of terrorist attacks in India earlier this year.

The grievances Lashkar-e-Taiba uses to motivate recruits vary depending on the target audience. One former member says he was recruited at age 16 in 1997 after a Lashkar recruiter showed him pictures of Muslim women raped and killed and dumped in mass graves in Bosnia, as well as of dead insurgents in Kashmir. In an interview, the former member said the recruiter came to his school in Gujranwala, a district close to Jamaat-ud-Dawa's headquarters, to tell the class to be pious Muslims.

"The pictures moved a lot of us and some of us even started to cry," he said in an interview.

After Mr. Kasab's first few months in a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp he felt a sense of purpose for the first time in his life, he told Mumbai police. It was his job to fight to the death to save Islam and he said he was ready to die in the jihad, police said.

At several camps around Pakistan, including a major Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in Muzaffarabad in Kashmir, Mr. Kasab underwent 18 months' training in marine warfare, weaponry and explosive use, he told interrogators, said Mr. Roy, the Maharashtra police director general.

Among the trainers were several who appeared in army and navy uniforms with names and rank badges, Mr. Roy said. The Pakistani government denies any of its military was involved in training the attackers.

The former Lashkar member also said training was provided by Pakistani military officers in uniform when he attended camp in Muzaffarabad. "They were experts," he said. "They taught us about explosives, about urban combat, how to go into buildings, clear rooms of people and hold off soldiers for as long as we could."

Lashkar-e-Taiba's camps typically give new recruits three weeks of basic weapons training, according to experts and past attendees. Volunteers begin their day with a call to morning prayers before rigorous exercises and religious instruction.

Foreign recruits are sometimes trained at a special camp, according to Yong Ki Kwon, a Lashkar-e-Taiba trainee apprehended by police in northern Virginia in 2003. Mr. Kwon became a cooperating witness for the government in its investigation of the Virginia Jihad network and pleaded guilty to weapons and conspiracy charges. He described training at several Lashkar camps in Pakistan in weapons, camouflage, reconnaissance and night maneuvers, and ambush tactics.

Ghulam, a 51-year-old former Lashkar-e-Taiba member who asked that only his first name be used, says that after his camp training in the early 1990s, he was sent to help the group's fighters in Kashmir. A Pakistani who now lives in Lahore, Ghulam says he carried weapons, ammunition, clothes and food to hideouts and safe houses across the Line of Control, the de facto border between India's and Pakistan's parts of the Himalayan region. Once, he said, his group was fired on by Indian forces as they headed back toward the line, and Pakistani soldiers opened fire to give them cover. Mr. Kasab said the members of his training group knew they were preparing to launch an attack, but they weren't told details, according to the police account.

A few days before they left their camp, a group of 10 were chosen from a larger group about double in number, police said. They were told they were attacking Mumbai and details on the plan. They knew they might die, but were promised their families would get about $3,000 if they became martyrs. For three months they were kept in isolation and communicated with one another using code names.

On Nov. 23, the group set out from Karachi, Pakistan's major port on the Arabian Sea, for a journey that three days later would deliver them to the shores of Mumbai. Mr. Kasab was the only one of the 10 Mumbai assailants captured; the rest were eventually killed by security forces, most of them after being holed up in three hotels and a Jewish center for three days as they eluded commandos.

Residents in the village where Mr. Kasab grew up said he moved out a few years ago, according to a local journalist. His father, Amir, confirmed the gunman as his son after seeing a photograph of him injured after the attacks, the journalist said. His mother burst into tears and kissed the photograph. The elder Mr. Kasab said he hasn't received any money from Lashkar-e-Taiba. "I don't sell my son," he told the journalist.