What was Al-Qaeda's link to the 26/11 attack?

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Bengaluru, May 22: The Al-Qaeda had nothing to do with the attack and it was entirely an operation by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. However there are two points that could be drawn up to suggest that the Al-Qaeda had a remote idea of what was about to take place on 26/11.

The Ilyas Kashmiri link and the fact that Osama had met with Abdul Rehman Pasha, the former major in the Pakistan army who incidentally was Headley handler initially.

What was Al-Qaeda's link to the 26/11 attack?
Hijacking the 26/11 attack:

Investigations would show that the 26/11 attack was not originally a plan hatched by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. It was in fact planned by Ilyas Kashmiri who was heading the 313 Brigade a wing of the Al-Qaeda. Kashmir had planned this operation as the Al-Qaeda was attempting to become a stake holder in Kashmir and they had named this operation as the Ghazwa-e-Hind or the destruction of India.

Also read: Al-Qaeda job application form found in Osama Bin Laden files

The ISI was however not amused and felt that the Al-Qaeda should not interfere in India and the job is best left to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The Al-Qaeda was looking for a spectacular attack and a 26/11 styled attack would have boosted its sagging fortunes.

The ISI however had the last word on the matter. It realized that members of the Lashkar were trying to join the Al-Qaeda and battle against the US in Afghanistan. The ISI could afford its pet outfit disintegrating in such a manner and hence decided to hijack the plan hatched by the Al-Qaeda and handed it over to the Lashkar.

Also read: Modi targeting Muslims indirectly says Al-Qaeda

Osama's meeting with Abdul Rehman Pasha:

The meeting of Pasha and Osama is interesting. David Headley during his interrogation by the FBI was asked if he ever met with Osama Bin Laden. He responded in the negative, but also added that his handler Pasha had claimed to have met with Bin Laden.

Going by what Headley had said, it becomes a clear indicator that Osama's whereabouts were very much known to Pakistan. However Pakistan has always denied knowing about Osama and his whereabouts.

Headley further recounts Pasha telling him about the meeting with Osama and how the discussion was about setting up an Army of Fidayeens. However the plan did not materialize as Pasha was called in to look after the 26/11 attack.

Also read: Difficult days for al-Qaeda: Why the terror group failed in India?

Did Osama track the 26/11 attack?

Osama was very much in the know of the 26/11 attack. However Indian Intelligence Agencies say that Osama knew about the attack like anyone else did. He read about it in the newspapers and even followed the trial of David Headley keenly through newspapers.

Intelligence Bureau officials also say that it is not possible that Osama would have been kept in the loop about the attack. He was in no way connected to it. Even the plan hatched originally by Kashmiri who was part of the Al-Qaeda may not have gone through Bin Laden, officials also state.

What Osama allegedly said about the 26/11 attack is very debatable. He has made a passing reference terming it as good and that would have been the reaction of every terrorist in Pakistan, the officer also points out.

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