Fresh evidence unearthed Thursday by investigators in India indicated that the Mumbai attacks were stage-managed from at least two Pakistani cities by top leaders of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Indian and U.S. intelligence officials have already identified a top Lashkar operative, Yusuf Muzammil, as a mastermind of the attacks. On Thursday, Indian investigators named a second commander, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
The names of both men came from the interrogations of the one surviving attacker, Muhammad Ajmal Kasab, 21, according to Rakesh Maria, a deputy police commissioner in India.
While Muzammil appears to have served as a control officer in Lahore, Pakistan, Lakvhi, his boss and the operational commander of Lashkar, worked from Karachi, according to investigators in Mumbai.
It appears that both men were in contact with their charges as they sailed to Mumbai from Karachi, Pakistan, and then continued guiding the attacks even as they unfolded, directing the assaults and possibly providing real-time information about the police and military response in India.
Some of the calls appeared to be conversations about who would live and who would die among the gunmen’s hostages, according to an official who interviewed survivors and a report by security consultants with contacts among the investigators.
The new links emerged as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met in Islamabad with Pakistani leaders, a day after meeting with Indian leaders, to urge that the two countries work together to find the attackers’ commanders and bring them to justice.
“What I heard was a commitment that this is the course that will be taken,” Rice told reporters at Chaklala Air Base in Pakistan after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
But while Pakistan’s leaders offered polite assurances, they made no public announcement of concrete measures that would be taken against Lashkar.