In damning evidence that the Mumbai terror attacks originated from Pakistan, top LeT commander Zarar Shah has confessed the group's involvement and the US provided Islamabad with the tape of a conversation his associate Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind, had with the gunmen.
The fresh evidence that cornered Pakistan and nailed its denials on involvement of its nationals behind the 26/11 attacks also saw it coming under "tremendous pressure" from the US which took an aggressive position asking Islamabad to extradite Lakhvi, the operations commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT).
The Americans are believed to have given Pakistan a taped conversation Lakhvi allegedly had with gunmen involved in attacks on Mumbai on November 26, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper quoted US and diplomatic sources as saying.
Both Shah and Lakhvi were among the LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawah(JuD) activists captured during a crackdown by Pakistani security forces near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistanoccupied Kashmir, on December 7 following mounting international pressure.
Pakistani security officials were quoted by Wall Street Journal as saying that Shah has admitted a role in the Mumbai attack during interrogation.
Shah has also implicated other LeT members, and had broadly confirmed the confession made by the sole captured militant Ajmal Kasab to Indian investigators -- that the 10 assailants trained in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and then went by boat from Karachi to Mumbai, the Journal report said.
British daily The Times also reported that Shah, a communications chief of LeT, allegedly admitted his complicity in carrying out the attacks. The paper said that Shah told his investigators that he was in contact with the gunmen involved in the attacks.
A second person familiar with the investigation was quoted by the Journal as saying that Shah told Pakistani interrogators that he was one of the key planners of the operation, and that he spoke with the attackers during the carnage to give them advice and keep them focussed.
The Journal said Pakistan's own investigation of terror attacks in Mumbai have begun to show substantive links between the LeT and 10 gunmen who took part in the Mumbai mission.
The paper quoted a person familiar with investigation as saying that Shah also admitted that the attackers spent at least a few weeks in Karachi, training in urban combat to hone skills they would use in their assault.
The disclosure, it said, could add new international pressure on Pakistan to accept that the attacks, which left 183 dead in India, originated within its borders and to prosecute or extradite the suspects.
"He is singing," the security official said of Shah.
The admission, the official told the paper, is backed up by US intercepts of a phone call between Shah and one of the attackers at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the site of a 60-hour confrontation with Indian security forces.
American audio experts had checked the tape and concluded it was genuine and that the speaker was Lakhvi, the Dawn said quoting US and diplomatic sources as saying.
Though Indian officials had been saying for some time that Lakhvi should be handed over to India, US officials had not taken a clear stand on this issue until this week. Lakhvi's conversation with the gunmen appeared to have changed their minds, the report said.
Diplomatic sources in Washington told the newspaper that the Americans were now "urging Pakistan to hand over Lakhvi to New Delhi".
Top LeT Leader Admits to Role in Mumbai Attacks
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