No Lashkar in Afghanistan, no Al-Qaeda in India: The result was Mumbai 26/11
New Delhi, Nov 28: A couple of years before the Mumbai 26/11 attack took place, Ilyas Kashmiri the head of the 313 Brigade of the Al-Qaeda was in talks with David Coleman Headley.
The duo would discuss with each other the importance of increasing their reach in the sub-continent. It was here that a plan was hatched to target India's commercial capital Mumbai. As per the original plan, Kashmiri would train his men to carry out a terror strike in a city and Headley was the one who had conduct the reconnaissance. Alternatively the duo had also hatched a plan to strike in a big way in Kashmir. This was planned with an intention to make a big announcement about the entry of the Al-Qaeda into Kashmir.
However, they went back to the attack on Mumbai, as they were well aware that the ISI would not allow any group other than the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen operate in Kashmir.
The ISI knew about this Mumbai plan, but stayed away from it. It was during that time that the US action in Afghanistan was at its peak. The action by the US and the ISI staying mum about it did not go down too well with several groups. However Hafiz Saeed, the boss of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the blue-eyed boy of the Pakistan establishment did not react.
The real problem began when several cadres within the ranks of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba began getting restless. At first they spoke among each other and later on asked the leadership why they should join their brothers in Afghanistan in the fight against the US.
The ISI would not allow this and the only way to control this was to create a huge distraction. It was decided that the plan hatched by Kashmiri would now be executed by Saeed.
The ISI wanted to demarcate boundaries clearly and did not want the Lashkar-e-Tayiba in Afghanistan. Neither did it want the al-Qaeda in India. However, the bigger issue for the ISI was to keep the Lashkar-e-Tayiba together and ensure that Saeed had no issues with it.
The ISI then called on the operations chief of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and discussed the plan to attack Mumbai. The meeting was also attended by Saeed and Kashmiri. Following the meeting, it was decided that the entire plan to attack Mumbai be carried out by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. On 26/11 ten terrorists carried out the attack in Mumbai and the rest is history.