The only gunman captured during the terror attack on Mumbai says he was promised that his impoverished family would get $1,250 if he died fighting for militant Islam, security officials said Wednesday.
The captive, 21-year-old Ajmal Amir Kasab, is from Faridkot village in the of Pakistan, according to the two Indian officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details gleaned during a week of interrogation.
By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer
Kasab was arrested hours after the three-day rampage began the night of Nov. 26. Photographs of the young man walking calmly through‘s — assault rifle in hand — have made him a symbol of the attacks that killed 171 people, including 26 foreigners.
India has blamed the banned Pakistan-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the carnage. But in an interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” Pakistan’s president,, expressed skepticism that the man in custody is a Pakistani citizen.
According to the Indian security officials, Kasab was a day laborer, like one of his brothers, before joining Lashkar. He recounted being told that if he was “shaheed” — or “martyred” — his family would receive 100,000 Pakistani rupees, or about $1,250, they said.
Kasab said that he and the nine gunmen killed during the attack were hand-picked for the Mumbai rampage after intensive Lashkar training, the officials said.
A former Defense Department official said Wednesday that American intelligence agencies had determined that former officers from Pakistan’s Army and its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency helped train the Mumbai attackers.
But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that no specific links had been uncovered yet between the terrorists and the Pakistani government.
His disclosure came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held meetings with Indian leaders in New Delhi and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with their Pakistani counterparts in Islamabad, in a two-pronged effort to pressure Pakistan to cooperate fully in the effort to track down those responsible for the bloody attacks in Mumbai last week.
Also on Wednesday, a “fully functional” bomb was found and defused at a major Mumbai train station that had reopened days earlier, the Mumbai authorities announced. The discovery raised terrifying questions about why the authorities had failed to find it all this time.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people marched through Mumbai, both mourning the at least 173 dead and protesting the failures of Indian politicians and security services to protect citizens.
Ms. Rice strove to balance demands on both countries. She said that Pakistan had a “special responsibility” to cooperate with India and help prevent attacks in the future, here and elsewhere. At the same time, she warned India against hasty reaction that would yield what she called “unintended consequences.”
“The response of the Pakistani government should be one of cooperation and of action,” she said at an evening news conference in New Delhi with her Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee. “Any response needs to be judged by its effectiveness in prevention and also by not creating other unintended consequences or difficulties.”
This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with a “Versace” logo carrying an automatic weapon as he enters a train station in Mumbai, late November 26. The man, Ajmal Amir Kamal, 21, is being interrogated in a safe house in Mumbai, reports said.(AFP/NDTV/File)