Pakistan pledges to find Mumbai suspects
Secretary of State Rice and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen were in Islamabad on Thursday trying to address the growing tension between India and Pakistan over the terror attacks in Mumbai last week.
Rice says she has the pledge of the Pakistani government that they will pursue and capture any suspects of the attack in Pakistan and will work to prevent future attacks from extra state actors.
The New York Times:
Ms. Rice flew to the Pakistani capital Thursday for talks after discussions Wednesday with Indian officials in New Delhi. Ms. Rice stressed that both India and Pakistan should cooperate fully to investigate the Mumbai attacks and bring to justice those who perpetrated them. More than 170 people were killed in an onslaught on targets including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a café and a railroad station. Of a presumed 10 attackers, all but one were killed.
“What I heard was a commitment that this is the course that will be taken,” Ms. Rice told reporters at Chaklala Air Base after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
In Mumbai, investigators reported Thursday that inquiries so far had produced gruesome new evidence suggesting savage treatment of some of the eight Israelis killed at the Jewish center. Some of them appeared to have strangulation marks and wounds on their bodies did not come from gunshots or grenades, Rakesh Maria, a joint commissioner of police in Mumbai, told reporters.
He said interrogation of the survivor among the attackers had provided new evidence identifying another operative of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group said to have indoctrinated the captured gunman and to have been in contact with the assailants during the attack.
Admiral Mullen met with Pakistani President Zardari and his military chiefs, urging him to "investigate agressively" any connections in Pakistan to the Indian tragedy.
Meanwhile, Indian intelligence is warning of a fresh attack that may be in the offing, perhaps as early as December 6 - the anniversary of the destruction of the Babri Masji mosque in northern India in 1992 by Hindu extremists. It is unknown how specific the threat might be but leaks indicate it would involve airplanes in perhaps a 9/11 style attack on buildings.
But the real problem now is trying to get both sides to back down and cool off. Demonstrations and some politicians in India are calling for retaliation against Pakistan while the Pak government has made it clear any such response would initiate consequences. Making matters more difficult is that elections are coming up in India and some opposition politicians are trying to make hay of the government's unpreparedness for the attacks as well as what they are calling a weak response to Pakistani aggression.
Expect Rice and other western diplomats to make several more visits to the capitols of the two countries over the next few weeks trying to keep the situation from getting out of control.