Continued from page 1

For days, however, reports blaming the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba have dominated the Indian press.

The group, originally based in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, is purportedly a creation of Pakistani intelligence.

Under pressure from the United States and Britain, Pakistan banned the group in 2002.

Lashkar-e-Taiba was founded in Afghanistan in 1989, by Haifiz Mohammad Saeed, an academic who recruited fighters from the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which was then ending.

The name means “army of the pious.” Its initial goal was to challenge Indian rule in Kashmir, but U.S. officials say the group thought it was waging war against non-Muslim rule throughout South Asia.

It later established ties with al Qaeda, with which it shares the goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate throughout the region and beyond.

U.S. officials think it cooperates with al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal regions along the Afghan border, where it provides aid and shelter to al Qaeda members.

Lashkar was blamed for at least two assassination attempts against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in 2004, an attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, an attack on a Hindu temple in India in 2002 and other attacks in India-controlled Kashmir.

In addition, it was blamed for a 2003 suicide bombing in Bombay that killed 52, and an October 2005 suicide attack in New Delhi during a festival, in which more than 60 people died. In 2006, the group was accused of a bombing attack in Bombay, in which 209 people died.

Its founder, Mr. Saeed, 62, now heads Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which claims to be a charity organization but is accused by some of being Lashkar-e-Taiba with a different name.

Commenting on the latest attack on Bombay, also known as Mumbai, Pakistani analyst Hasan Askari said Indian charges are undermining Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism.

“If Delhi increases pressure on Pakistan, Islamabad will have no choice but to move its troops from the tribal region to its eastern border with India,” Mr. Askari said.

Pakistan has deployed more than 100,000 troops on its porous western border with Afghanistan to fight al Qaeda and Taliban militants.

“Both the countries should heed the call of sanity by sitting at the negotiating table instead of confronting each other militarily,” Mr. Askari told The Washington Times.

Pakistan originally designated its intelligence chief to visit India and help with the investigation. However, it sent a lower-ranking official after an outcry from India.

Story Continues →