Counter-Terrorism: The Lessons Of Mumbai


October 30, 2010: In last two years, many interesting details have emerged about the November 2008 Islamic terrorist assault on Mumbai, India. The ten man team of killers, recruited and trained by the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET, or "army of the pure") group, attacked numerous targets in the city, killing 173 people and wounding over 300. The attack featured the random killing of just about anyone the terrorists encountered. What was even scarier was what was later discovered. It turned out that the terrorists had other agents doing reconnaissance. A major hotel was attacked, and the attackers had detailed information of who was in what room. They also had information about how the local police were organized and what police plans were for dealing with such attacks. The terrorists used cell phones to stay in touch with their controllers back in Pakistan, and these controllers watched the live TV coverage of the attack and kept the terrorists informed of what the big picture was.

Much of this inside information about how the terrorists operated came from the one terrorist that was captured, and this was more by chance than anything else. The surviving terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, was caught because Kasab and his partner were detected and pursued by a van of police (commanded by the head of the local counter-terror squad). The two terrorists opened fire with their assault rifles on the van and thought they had killed all six of the cops. But one survived, and while feigning death, used his cell phone to alert police where the two terrorists were headed. The two were later caught at a road block, and one of them killed. The captured terrorist eventually spoke freely, about who organized the attack and what it's objective was (to trigger a war between India and Pakistan, which would enable Islamic radicals to take over Pakistan and form a religious dictatorship.) Ultimately, LET wants to destroy Hinduism, something Moslems have been trying to do for over a thousand years.

Despite the arrest and prosecution of seven LET officials in Pakistan, and the failure of Indian and Pakistan to go to war, LET considered the Mumbai attack a success. The ten men killed or wounded nearly 500 people and obtained lots of publicity for Islamic radicals. LET, and other Islamic terror groups, are believed to be trying to organize similar attacks on other cities, particularly in Europe.

The Mumbai attack taught India, and other Western nations, that local police had to be better prepared for this kind of attack, and that media coverage has to be controlled in order to deny the terrorists useful information.



Article Archive

Counter-Terrorism: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close