`Headley wanted assignment in Kashmir`
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Last Updated: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 10:19
  
Washington: After completing training in LeT camps in Pakistan, Mumbai attacks co-accused David Headley wanted an assignment in Kashmir, according to the federal document unsealed by the court.

The document unsealed at the request of the Chicago Tribune showed that he was not given his favourite assignment, as the Lashkar leaders wanted to use him for something else.

According to the new documents, it was in February 2002, Headley began attending training camps in Pakistan for LeT.

By December 2003, Headley had attended five separate courses, and had been trained in, among other topics, Lashkar's philosophy, the use of weapons and grenades, combat tactics, survival skills and counter surveillance methods.

After completing several camps, Headley became acquainted with a senior member of Lashkar Zakir Lakhvi ('Zaki'), who was responsible for Lashkar’s military operations.

Headley was anxious to be assigned to an operational assignment in Kashmir, but Zaki told Headley that he was saving Headley for a different assignment.

In July 2004, Headley attended a leadership course with Lashkar senior and junior leadership, the federal prosecutors said in the unsealed documents.

At that course, Zaki made a presentation regarding the killing of an Indian citizen who accepted money from Lashkar, but was then believed to have provided information about Lashkar activities to the Indian military. Zaki showed a computer animation depicting how the killing was carried out.

Also during that course, Headley attended meetings with Hafiz Saeed (the head of Lashkar), Zaki, and others.

During the meeting, Headley recommended filing a lawsuit challenging Lashkar's designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation. Zaki explained to Headley that a lawsuit was a bad idea because it could lead to the public airing of Lashkar's activities.

According to the unsealed documents, following completion of the camps and leadership course, Lashkar assigned a series of 'handlers' to Headley.

"Initially, Headley was assigned to the handler Yakub. Headley complained to Zaki and others that Yakub did not give him any assignments. Thereafter, Headley was assigned to Muzzammill Butt, another senior leader within Lashkar. Working for Muzzammill Butt was an individual named Sajid Mir ('Sajid')," it said.

"Eventually, Sajid, identified in the superseding indictment as Lashkar Member A, became Headley's 'handler'. Sajid was a resident of Pakistan, and a leader within Lashkar. Sajid was one of the main architects for the planning and preparation that led to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 and Sajid first assigned Headley to perform surveillance in Denmark in order to plan an attack there, as discussed more fully below," the documents said.

Headley met another Lashkar member co-defendant Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, to whom Headley and the defendant referred as 'Pasha' while attending a mosque frequented by Lashkar members.

Pasha was a retired Pakistani military officer who, at one point, was active in Lashkar, including participating as a trainer at one of its training camps.

Through their discussions over the years, however, Headley learned that Pasha had a number of disagreements with Lashkar members over its philosophy and commitment to jihad, it said.

In 2006, Headley travelled to the FATA area with Pasha. During the trip, Headley and Pasha were stopped and questioned by Pakistani authorities. Headley was questioned by an individual who identified himself as Major Ali. Headley told Major Ali about his training with Lashkar. Major Ali then asked Headley for his contact information.

Several days later, Headley was contacted by an individual who identified himself as Major Iqbal, said to be an ISI officer. Over the next several years, as described in more detail below, Headley met with Major Iqbal and his associates many times.

During these meetings, Headley was trained in various topics, including spotting and assessing people, recognizing Indian military insignia and movements, dead drops and pick up points, and clandestine photography.

It was in late 2005, Headley met with Sajid, Muzzammill, and another senior Lashkar member, Abu Qahafa (identified in the indictment as Lashkar Member B), who instructed Headley to travel to India.

While in India, they instructed Headley to act as an American, and to conceal his Muslim faith and his ties to Pakistan.

Around this time, Headley met with Zaki and discussed changing his given name, Daood Gilani, in order to carry out the instructions. Zaki asked Headley where he was born. When Headley informed Zaki that he was born in the United States, Zaki expressed happiness with this fact because having not only a United States passport, but a United States passport indicating a birth place in the United States, would not arouse suspicion when Headley traveled, the unsealed documents said.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 10:19


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