David Headley played one of the most important roles in the 26/11 attack. As the National Investigation Agency (NIA) readies to put Headley to trial, it is important to note how deep a role he had played in carrying out one of the deadliest attacks on Indian soil.
In part one of this series, we brought you the confession of Headley which dealt with his joining the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and also the planning of the attack. [The David Headley Confession: Kasab's release failed - Part 1]
In this second and concluding part of the Headley confession, he speaks about the reason for the 26/11 attack and also the future plans of the Lashkar.
Shifting focus from the Afghanistan issue:
"I get the feeling that the 26/11 attack was planned by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the ISI to shift focus of the world from the Afghanistan issue. Moreover they also felt that there was a need to instill confidence in the cadres and they were getting demoralized and restless. A lot of them wanted to do jihad and join the battle in Afghanistan.
The Lashkar subscribes to the Salahi faith of Islam and they believe that they should install the rule of God. The Lashkar has been inclined towards the battle in Kashmir and over a period of time there was a debate amongst the cadres regarding joining the battle in Afghanistan.
The ISI was very clear that it wanted to keep Kashmir and Afghanistan separate and did not want the two issues being mixed up. This debate within the Lashkar was leading to a split and the ISI thought that it needed to stage a 26/11 attack in order to keep the outfit together.
The Lashkar had not stopped speaking about Bal Thackerey and during my meeting with Saeed he had said that the chief of the Sena had damaged a Muslim nation. The Shiv Sena continues to be a big target for the Lashkar.
During my stint in Mumbai, my handler Sajid was particular that I conducted a proper survey of the Taj Mahal Hotel. I was also told to videograph the Shiv Sena Bhawan. I had visited that place and even chatted up some of the security guards over there. I tried to get close to the PRO of that organization, Rajaram.
More targets under the radar:
I got close to Ilyas Kashmiri after the 26/11 attack. He belonged to the Al-Qaeda. Along with him I also got in touch with Abdur Hashim aka Pasha who was a retired major of the Pakistan army.
Pasha was first asked to fight the Taliban, but he refused to do so and began training Lashkar men.
I had even introduced Pasha to some of my contacts who used to deal in drugs. I had spoken about these contacts with Rahul Bhatt, but he did not know in what context I was talking about this.
Pasha is an important man in the set up and he has asked me to survey various targets in India. He has a lot of anti India operations up his sleeve and he runs the army of Fidayeens for this purpose.
Pasha had insisted that I joined the Al-Qaeda and I readily agreed. I conducted a survey of the National Defence College at his behest. In addition to this I have also made videos of targets at Delhi, Goa and Pune. All this material is with him and it could be used for future attacks.
In addition to this we had also planned on attacking the Taj Presidency, Naval Air Station, World Trade Centre, the Siddhi Vinayak Temple and also the Bombay Stock Exchange. However these targets were later traded for the Chhabad House.
Pasha was aware of this change and in fact he was thrilled when this plan changed. When I was conducting a survey of the Taj Mahal hotel, I came across a jewellery shop and planned on staging a robbery there.
I had thought that this money could be used for the attack. It was well received, but then that plan fizzled out.
After conducting these surveys, on one my return trips to Pakistan, I got the news that Benazir Bhutto had been shot. When I visited the Lashkar camp, I witnessed that a lot of the cadres of the Lashkar were praying hard that she does not survive.
It was around this time a Major by the name Haroon and I planned on assassinating Pervez Musharaf for his Lal Masjid operation.
In addition to the job of conducting surveys, I was also told by my handlers to check if the SIM connections which were to be used by the attackers would work in India. I did that at the Wagah border and told them that the connections were fine.
It was around the same time that we held a discussion to drop the attack on the VT station. I suggested that there could be a number of Muslims and they could lose their lives.
My apprehensions were however dismissed and I was told that the attack would be conducted during the Iftari and no Muslims would be out at that time.
The future of the Lashkar:
The Lashkar-e-Tayiba has been witnessing changes and post 26/11 they were impressed with the manner in which the attack was carried out and even set up a naval wing for future operations.
The naval wing was specifically created to carry out sea borne attacks against India and in future there will be more attacks from the sea. The naval wing which was created just after the attack of 26/11 is headed by a person by the name Yaqub.
They have roped in the services of another person by the name Abdur Rehman who is from the Pakistan navy. He is an expert at diving and will train the cadres in this department.
The Lashkar also has a frogman to take care of operations. In addition to this the Lashkar has also set up a women's wing. The main role of this wing at the moment is to write songs which act as inspiration to the cadres.
When I was carrying out my job for the 26/11 attack, I was shown photographs of the ten attackers. These pictures were shown to me by my handler Sajid.
One of the persons who was involved in the attack was also part of the team which attacked the rally in which Dr Manmohan Singh addressed in Srinagar in the year 2004.
I was also shown the photographs of Ajmal Kasab and Abu Ismail who launched the attack which ended up killing the policemen on the streets that night.
I was also introduced to a person by the name Muzzamil at the same time who I was told was the man who carried out both the Chhitisinghpura attack and also the attack at the Akshardham temple.
It was during my trip to India in the month of March 2008 that I carried out a survey of the Chabad House. At first it was decided to give this place a skip, but later my ISI handlers told me that I should carry out a survey of this place and it would be attacked.
I did accordingly and even shot videos of the Chabad House. I clicked pictures of the targets in the city with a camera which was gifted to me by my mother in law and the videos were shot from my mobile phone.
It was during this visit that I also made a trip to Pune where I conducted a detailed survey of the German Bakery. After this, I returned to Lahore after this attack and met with my handler Pasha.
At that point of time, I even handed out sketches and videos of the targets that I had videographed. It was then that I said to Pasha at Lahore that it would be better for us to stage an attack on the National Defence College, which today is under their radar.
I had told Pasha that if we stage an attack on the National Defence College, then we could kill more Indian soldiers than Pakistan managed to kill in all its wars with India.