12/11/2008, 00.00
INDIA - PAKISTAN
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Terrorists in Mumbai may have had Indian accomplices, bases in Nepal

India is stepping up security measures. Meanwhile, the UN outlaws a Pakistani charity group, but its leaders are appealing to the government. Reaction awaited from Islamabad, where the deputy U.S. secretary of state flew today.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Indian accomplices may have helped the Pakistani terrorists who killed about 172 people in Mumbai. Meanwhile, the UN has outlawed an important Pakistani group.

Amitabh Yash, director of the Indian police task force that arrested Sabauddin Ahmed in February, for assaulting a police station, yesterday said that "he was their main point man in Katmandu, a very trusted man by Lashkar (Lashkar-e-Taiba, LeT)," which is accused in the attack. Allegedly his job was, among other things, to manage safe houses in Nepal, where it is easier to cross the lightly controlled Indian border. According to Yash, Ahmed has admitted to "contacts with several officials from Pakistan's spy service."

India has asked Pakistan for the arrest and extradition of 40 people believed to be accomplices of the attack, and is accusing Islamabad of not cooperating.

Yesterday, the United Nations security council declared as a "terrorist organization" subject to sanctions (like the freezing of assets, travel restrictions, and the prohibition against its members owning weapons) the charity group Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), as requested by India and the United States, which accuse it of being a front group for the LeT. JuD is permitted in Pakistan, where it supports numerous Islamic schools and clinics.

JuD spokesman Abdullah Muntazir has contested the decision, and has asked the Pakistani government not to act against those who "only want to help poor Pakistanis." Hafiz Saeed (in the photo), the leader of the LeT until 2001, and now head of the JuD, said at a press conference in Lahore, "We will not accept any decision taken under Indian pressure. This decision was taken to defame Pakistan."

UN sources maintain that the LeT is also active in Saudi Arabia and Europe, has participated in attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, and receives money from al-Qaeda. The UN has also classified as terrorists four leaders of the LeT, with the exception of Hamid Gul, a retired Pakistani. India had wanted him on the list. It appears that China, an ally of Pakistan, vetoed on behalf of Gul. And now reaction is awaited from Islamabad, where U.S. deputy secretary of state John Negroponte went today to ask for concrete action against the terrorists responsible for the attacks in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Indian interior minister P. Chidambaram told parliament today that domestic security is being stepped up, in part through more strict anti-terrorism measures, the deployment of more men and resources, and close supervision over the trains and the coasts: India has 7,500 kilometers of coastline, and it is believed that the terrorists came to Mumbai by sea.

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