Pakistan aided attack, says Mumbai terror suspect

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The Independent Online

Pakistan's main spy agency looks set to come under further scrutiny after a man who has pleaded guilty to plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attack suggested that it co-ordinated with a militant group in the country.

David Headley, an American who has admitted to scouting targets in Mumbai for the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, made the comments at the trial of the Pakistan-born Canadian citizen Tahawwur Rana, who is accused of using his immigration-services firm to provide a cover story for Headley.

Headley has pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty and to avoid being extradited.

The trial comes just weeks after the killing of Osama bin Laden by US Special Forces raised questions about whether Pakistani authorities knew that the leader of al-Qa'ida was in their country and about their commitment to fighting militant groups. Testifying yesterday, Headley said that Pakistan's main spy agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), and the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba "co-ordinate with each other".

Headley had previously told investigators that the militants' "handlers" were members of the ISI directorate.

His testimony will be closely monitored for what it could reveal about the role of the ISI in the attacks that killed more than 160 people in the Indian city.

Prosecutor Sarah Streicker said in her opening statement to the jury in US District Court in Chicago that the defendant Mr Rana "not only knew of the attacks, he approved of them".

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