Rice urges Pakistan co-operation over Mumbai massacre

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The Independent Online

Pakistan must co-operate fully in the investigation into last week's terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the US Secretary of State said on a visit to London today.

Condoleezza Rice travelled to the UK this morning for talks with Foreign Secretary David Miliband, and will visit India later this week.

Tension between India and Pakistan has been mounting in the days since the attacks, which left at least 172 people dead, including one British businessman.

A senior Mumbai policeman claimed the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) - seen in some quarters as a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service - was responsible for the attacks.

Islamabad denied any involvement in the Mumbai killings, and said it was prepared to move troops to the Indian border if the diplomatic situation worsened.

"What we are emphasising to the Pakistani government is the need to follow the evidence wherever it leads," Ms Rice said.

"I don't want to jump to any conclusions myself on this, but I do think that this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and co-operation and that's what we expect."

Ms Rice said the attacks were of "special interest and concern" to the US as Americans were among those deliberately targeted and killed.

Indian security forces said they had finished removing bodies from the Taj Mahal Palace, the luxury hotel which saw some of the worst of the violence.

Soldiers have already cleared two other sites targeted by the militants - the five-star Oberoi hotel and an Orthodox Jewish centre.

Police said the only gunman captured in the 60-hour siege of the city, Ajmal Qasab, said he belonged to LeT, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002.

Two senior politicians - home minister Shivraj Patil and national security adviser MK Narayanan - have offered to resign in the wake of the attacks, as details emerged of the unpreparedness of the Mumbai security services.

Police at the city's main railway station, one of the terrorists' targets, were armed only with batons and First World War-era rifles.

No specialist Swat-style armed police unit was located in Mumbai - a city of 18 million people - and it took commandos from New Delhi nearly 10 hours to reach the scene of the attacks, in which time the gunmen were able to consolidate their control of two luxury hotels and the Jewish centre.