Lakhvi's network spans continents

Global terror: He also planned attacks in Iraq, Bosnia and Chechnya

Zaki-ur- Rehman Lakhvi not only handpicked Ajmal Kasab and nine others from the hinterland of Pakistan and turned them into terror machines to carry out the Mumbai carnage but also oversaw operations of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and its allies in Iraq.

Lakhvi, who was released on bail by a court in Pakistan on Thursday, has been functioning as the LeT’s Chief of Operations at least since 2003. His areas of operations were not limited to Af-Pak region, but encompassed other theatres of conflict, including Iraq, Bosnia, Chechen Republic in Russia and parts of Southeast Asia.

While radical cleric Hafiz Saeed has been the face of the LeT and its front organisation Jamat-ud-Dawa, Lakhvi, now in his mid 50s, has been responsible for all major operations of the outfit.

Lakhvi was born at Okara in Pakistan in 1960. He carries the identification number 61101-9618232-1 granted by the National Database and Registration Authority of Pakistan.

According to the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US government, Lakhvi played “an important role in LeT fundraising activities” in the years preceding 2003. He received “Al Qaida-affiliated donations on behalf of the LeT”, according to a May 2008 document of the US Department of Treasury.

According to a dossier prepared by the US agencies a few months before, 10 LeT terrorists killed over 160 people in Mumbai in November 2008, Lakhvi had, in 2003, sent an LeT operative to Iraq “to assess the jihad situation” in the war-ravaged West Asian country. He had followed it up next year and sent operatives and funds “to attack US forces in Iraq”.

“Lakhvi instructed the LeT associates in 2006 to train operatives for suicide bombings. Prior to that, Lakhvi instructed LeT operatives to conduct attacks in well-populated areas,” revealed the US dossier.

The LeT was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US Department of State in December 2001.

 The United Nations Security Council designated the outfit as an entity affiliated to the al-Qaeda in May 2005. Lakhvi and several other LeT leaders were all individually designated by the US as terrorists in May 2008. Notwithstanding the US sanctions, Lakhvi, however, continued to live free in Pakistan and organised the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. The UN Security Council put him under global sanctions.

Kasab, the lone 26/11 terrorist caught alive, told his interrogators in Mumbai that Lakhvi persuaded him to join the LeT and promised that his poor family would be given a good amount of money if he dedicated himself for the ‘jihad’.

Kasab’s nine other accomplices were also handpicked by Lakhvi from across Pakistan. The LeT chief of operations not only personally monitored the training of the LeT squad chosen for the 26/11 attacks, but also saw them off when they sailed out from Karachi for Mumbai.

 He was in the LeT control room in Karachi and was among the ones who directly instructed the terrorists over phone.

Pakistani-American terror plotter David Coleman Headley, who was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation from Chicago in October 2009, told his interrogators that Lakhvi had not only sent him to Mumbai to survey the targets for the 26/11 strike, but had also been the key plotter of the attack. 

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