Mumbai terror attacks: ISI trained Headley in Lahore

Written by: Pti
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David Headley
Chicago, May 26: Dissatisfied with the military and espionage training received by Mumbai attacks accused David Headley from the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistan's spy agency ISI provided him a special discourse in Lahore for carrying out surveillance ahead of the 26/11 carnage.

"ISI did provide me (espionage) training," Headley told a Chicago court as he was grilled by the defence attorney Charles D Swift on the third day of the trial today of Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, another co-accused in the 26/11 attacks.

The training by the Pakistan intelligence agency to Headley was provided by Major Iqbal, who was his ISI handler, on the streets and in a two-storey safe house in Lahore near the airport, the 50-year-old Mumbai terror accused told jury during the course of questioning by Swift.

Headley told the court that when he met Major Iqbal in 2006, he expressed dissatisfaction at the military and espionage training that he had received from the LeT earlier.

Major Iqbal, who was identified by Headley as ''Chaudhery Khan'', told him that the training received from LeT was "not very good" and was "very elementary", so he decided to give instructions to him.

It was a two-storey house in a residential neighbourhood and there was a small compound outside the house, Headley said when pressed by Swift during the closing hours on the third day of the trial.

The statements formed part of the testimony of Headley, who has pleaded guilty.

These disclosures, which further cements India's charges that elements of ISI were involved in the 26/11, is also corroborated by information given by federal prosecutors in the documents to the court, which have been unsealed. 

Despite repeated questioning, Headley said that he did not know the full name of Major Iqbal, but was sure that he was from the ISI. He was introduced as Major Iqbal to him.

Although Major Iqbal was never seen by Headley in military uniform, he came to meet him several times in a military jeep and his subordinates had military designations, he said.

Headley said he never went to the ISI headquarters and added that he was introduced to Major Iqbal by military personnel, a fact corroborated by the unsealed document.

The ISI and Major Iqbal were particularly motivated by the fact that he was US born and an American national, this would have concealed his real identity in India.

"They (ISI and Major Iqbal) wanted me to have a business so as to have the ability to have a long-term stay in India. In discussion with them I suggested it to take the help of Dr Rana's (Tahawwur Rana) business to get this objective," he said.

After completing training in LeT camps in Pakistan, Headley wanted an assignment in Kashmir but he was not given his favourite assignment, as the Lashkar leaders wanted to use him for something else.

According to the new documents, it was in February 2002, Headley began attending training camps in Pakistan for LeT.

By December 2003, Headley had attended five separate courses, and had been trained in, among other topics, Lashkar's philosophy, the use of weapons and grenades, combat tactics, survival skills and counter surveillance methods.

After completing several camps, Headley became acquainted with senior LeT member of Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi (Zaki), who was responsible for Lashkar's military operations.


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