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How stupid are the terrorists!

January 12, 2009

A lot has been written about the failure of the Indian security agencies before and during the Mumbai terror attacks, but well, the terrorists made plenty of stupid mistakes as well, mistakes which cost them dearly. The Mumbai terror attacks did bring in some sort of sick admiration for the LeT initially, but I doubt whether LeT supporters and admirers are still gloating.

Here’s where they bungled up

  • They wanted to ensure that India knew that it was Pakistan who had engineered the attacks, but at the same time wanted no tangible evidence to be left behind…because otherwise the world would know it too! They didn’t want tangible proof of their involvement because one of the objectives of this attack was to isolate and frustrate India.
  • Once isolated and frustrated, with the world doubting that Pakistan behind the attacks, the terrorists hoped that India would do something provocative, like mobilize troops and threaten war, which would help the Taliban re-group on Pakistan’s western border. This didn’t work either.
  • The hoax call to President Zardari by the attackers (where the called threatened war) was with the intention to precipitate war. This was exposed almost immediately with the United States and the United Kingdom acting as mediators.
  • Elements in Pakistan started to whip up a war hysteria (perhaps to divert attention from the main issue) despite the fact that India had no intention to attack. History has shown that India has never attacked Pakistan in all the three wars that have been fought, but still won all. During the 1971 war, Pakistan attacked India first. During the 1965 war too, it was the Pakistani army which had heavily infilterated into Kashmir, and this caused India to retaliate. Knowing they were going to be defeated, the Pakistani Army attacked India in 1999 (Kargil war), alongwith the terrorists. It is Pakistan who has always been the aggressor and this time [2008] despite an attack on India from Pakistani soil, India has not hit back, mainly because it has realised that it will destroy the civilian government. Pakistan however pretended it was going to fight a war anyway, but this “strategy” backfired. Fighting an imaginary enemy is always amusing, but at the same time is as sinister as fighting the wrong enemy.
  • The Mumbai terror attacks brought home to the world like never before that Pakistan’s democratic leadership was fragile. This has become a hurdle for the terrorists as it means less freedom to operate with impunity, using the democratic government as a cover.
  • The sickening nature of the Mumbai attacks where innocent civilians were tortured and killed disgusted the Muslim world and the Pakistani public. This could affect the funds that the terrorists receive for the charitable activities which are their front. How many sane people would want to donate to an orphanage knowing that a part of the money would be diverted to kill innocent women and children?

What the terrorists did succeed in doing was ruining Indo-Pak relations. They also succeeded in drawing world attention to themselves.

This is what went wrong during the actual operation:

  • The terrorists wanted to kill at least 5,000 people. This was discovered after interrogating the captured terrorists Ajmal Kasab and collaborated by the number of unexploded bombs and grenades which were found on the attacked sites, including at CST station.
  • The terrorists left behind incriminating evidence. This happened as they failed to destroy the boat MV Kuber in which they had arrived. They admitted to their handlers in Pakistan that they made a huge mistake and this is part of the conversation recorded on their phones:
  • We forgot to open the cocks of the boat (to sink it). There were huge waves and we thought a navy ship was approaching us so we forgot Ismail’s satellite phone behind!

  • This satellite phone and other items revealed the Pakistani link. The pistols, grenades and essential commodities all had Pakistani markings. The roster/diary recovered from Kuber maintained in Urdu.
  • Their plan to take hostages at CST failed as they came under fire from the railway police.
  • Their intention not to kill Muslims backfired as they inadvertently killed a lot of Muslims are CST station.
  • The greatest bungling happened when a terrorist was captured alive – Ajmal Qasab. And it all happened because the terrorists went up the wrong flight of stairs and found themselves outside CST. Perhaps they had not studied the CST plan in detail.  Once outside, they looked for another vulnerable building but found that Cama hospital was full of Muslims. So they left Cama. Hereafter they seemed confused as they hijacked a police jeep (which was followed) and then after its tyres were shot at, they took a Skoda. In the police jeep they failed to verify that all were dead and it was this lone surving policeman in the jeep who lived to tell the tale and give out warnings. Without thinking they took the Skoda on an arterial road which had a lot of police presence.

Operations such as these are liable to go wrong, but I think this one went very very wrong for the terrorists. In fact considering the kind of people the terrorists recruit (mostly petty criminals) their success was rather remarkable. But it cannot really be called success because targeting and killing unarmed innocent civilians is easy enough for a bunch of violent retarded goons, particularly if they are crazy enough to want to die, and lucky enough to be funded.

As for India, there is one huge mistake that could have occurred during the operation and that is the killing of Ajmal Kasab. This almost happened. Apparently, the Maharashtra Police were so incensed at the death of their top men that they had given orders to kill Kasab! But by the time the orders arrived, Kasab was already at the hospital, and it was too late.

Thank heavens for small mercies.

(Photograph is copyrighted to me)

Related Reading: India does not want war
What do terrorists and pirates have in common?
Muslims turning away from terrorism but the world is against them
Muslim groups trying to contain radical elements in their commuity
Terrorism – citizens need answers!
All articles on Terrorism on this blog

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33 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2009 2:24 pm

    True. And thank god Ajmal got arrested cause without his statement. Our guesses would be mere guesses. Atleast now we know what they were out for. And thank god they bungled up. I shudder to think what’d have happened had they come up the right flight of stairs or if they had managed to escape with the skoda.

  2. January 12, 2009 2:31 pm

    “The sickening nature of the Mumbai attacks where innocent civilians were tortured and killed disgusted the Pakistani public” – I find that hard to believe .

  3. January 12, 2009 2:57 pm

    Very concise article..Yes Nita,I agree with all that you say ,but on the statement regarding the Pakistani Public I second what Kislay has said…..here’s an article that talks about the madness that would have been unleashed in India had Kasab not been captured alive…

    http://vinodksharma.blogspot.com/2008/12/had-ajmal-kasab-not-been-captured-alive.html

  4. January 12, 2009 3:07 pm

    Any mission of such a magnitude cannot be managed or sustained without a remote connection to the economic advantages that it could provide the beneficiaries. The terrorists could have been promised something for their family. But what about the people who are sponsoring all this? If such funds are cut off from these groups, it would be practically impossible to conduct an operation of such a magnitude. Is the Govt. doing something on this?

    Destination Infinity

  5. January 12, 2009 3:51 pm

    I can’t believe that our police can get so irrational and shoot an important link in exposing Pakistan’s sponsored terrorism!!

  6. January 12, 2009 5:43 pm

    Well I can understand the police frustration. But they should be more mature and professional when dealing with such situations.

  7. January 12, 2009 5:44 pm

    well we avoided a world in general :)

  8. January 12, 2009 5:52 pm

    I meant to world war :)

  9. January 12, 2009 6:53 pm

    well, they might have done some mistakes during 26/11, next time they’ll come prepared not to do such mistakes… Question is, are we prepared to deal with them when they strike next time, with better plan, coordination, better weaponry and gadgets?

  10. January 12, 2009 9:37 pm

    Very interesting analysis, Nita! I always thought this was very successful op on the LeT’s part, but looking at it this way, it looks like a mixed bag….

  11. wishtobeanon permalink
    January 12, 2009 10:28 pm

    “Apparently, the Maharashtra Police were so incensed at the death of their top men that they had given orders to kill Kasab!” – this incident re-inforces the need for training of police especially in areas of Emotional Intelligence.

  12. January 13, 2009 12:35 am

    These are some awesome facts that you have put here !!

    After all terrorists are human beings and no aliens and human beings tend to make mistakes !! It’s good that they made so many so that so many lives were saved !!

  13. January 13, 2009 1:40 am

    Some awesome facts you have put forward, Nita. The common man both sides don’t want war but still there is a strong resentment.

    But seems like there is still not “enough proof” for us to prove another country’s involvement and to top it now the new claim is ‘Kasab’ was christened by our Indian police because of lack of last name. So there is no proof of a Kasab in the village he claims he belongs to.

    Couple of weeks back on Aaj Tak, they were making pointers to prove Kasab is Pakistani and one such was
    ‘a Fairness cream in his bag brought from Dubai’ :)

  14. January 13, 2009 4:00 am

    @ Nita : What was so funny for me in this whole affair was how many names came out after Kasab’s ‘interrogation’. Isn’t it usual to ask the suspect their name first? I think the media might have printed around 10 versions of his name.

  15. Vinod permalink
    January 13, 2009 5:07 am

    I wonder whether one of the reasons behind the attacks was to destabilize the already fragile democratic govt in pakistan by creating a war hysteria so that the Pakistani army could come back to power.

    • January 13, 2009 8:12 am

      compulsive writer, it was just chance and very lucky for us!

      Kislay Chandra and Indyeah, I believe the Pakistani people do not condone this because of the blogs I read. Sure, I have read a lot of war mongering Pakistani blogs too. But I believe in the basic goodness of human beings and I find it difficult to believe that the public would ever feel happy at the killing of innocent people.

      Indyeah, well, I guess without Kasab our case would have fallen apart!

      Reema , Xylene wishtobeanon, I think police officers can go quite crazy when one of their own is killed. However even if they wanted to punish Kasab, this is punishment too, being imprisonmed and being face to face with death.

      rambodoc, yeah a mixed bag but overall I think the basic objective of the LeT was not met. Now American is breathing more strongly down their necks than ever before.

      Shrinidhi, I too hope our security agencies learn from their mistakes.

      Vishesh, the only country which thought it was going to war was Pakistan! But yeah if it had attacked us like it has several times in the past, then one cannot say what could have happened!

      Soham, yes many lives were saved, and partly because they were unable to set the whole Taj building and the Oberoi’s on fire. They wanted to do this.

      DI, Well, the government did put forward a case on JUD and it was banned. Pakistan has not followed the ban as their civilian government is clearly not in control. Unless ofcourse their civilian government too supports JuD. One doesn’t know what exactly is happening there.

      Solilo, thanks. I think now there is enough proof, the Pakistanis have not rejected the dossier of proof and even if they do, the world has accepted it. So the Pakistanis have lost this round. As for “aaj tak” I think that channel is known for sensational stuff.

      Odzer, I wonder if that means that Kasab himself tried to mislead the police.

      Vinod, yes, you have brought out an important point I should have mentioned in my article. Another goal of the terrorists was foiled!!

  16. January 13, 2009 9:44 am

    good post…analysis……..

    Thanks. :) – Nita.

  17. January 13, 2009 10:25 am

    I agree that they were stupid and fool as well. Also We were the stupid ones who have allowed this very situation to develop…

    On the other side, We have learnt a big lesson and we are improving our system. It’s getting harder for terrorist.

    I certainly hope so! – Nita.

  18. January 13, 2009 10:49 am

    @ Nita : That is not the point. The point is they should have found out the name, confirmed it and only then released it. This is quite Arushie-type behaviour from them again!

    Well, it is possible they were sure the first time! Not that it speaks very well of them. – Nita.

  19. Chirag permalink
    January 13, 2009 12:35 pm

    Ahaa Brilliant, I too though among the similar lines. But an expensive stupidity should not go unpunished.

    Thanks. :) And I think they are being punished as the whole world is now breathing down their neck! – Nita.

  20. January 13, 2009 2:59 pm

    A very different perspective indeed,but I felt the terrorists have nothing to lose. Even if india does prove pakistan is involved without doubts is anything substantial going to happen?.

    Holding a country[and indirectly its whole economy]as hostage for 3days is a Bigger success than killing N number of people.

    I agree some of their objectives were met, but at what cost? Now their very existence in Pakistan is being threatened. – Nita.

  21. January 13, 2009 4:35 pm

    I would be elated if such stupid people do not have anything to do with India

    Well, we too hope they don’t! – Nita.

  22. Naveen permalink
    January 13, 2009 4:51 pm

    Thanks Nita. Good post. There is a more important proof for their stupidity -their own twisted ideology and dementia. Killing self and innocent others for martyrdom? I wonder what kind of human beings commit such insane despicable crimes and how are they reared?

    I also wonder, why the west needs a new proof to pakistani element’s involvement and why are so many doubts everywhere about the Taliban/Alqaeda/LeT nexus. Isn’t that what John Walker Lindh, the American taleban, tell the world, a long back? Wasn’t he recruited by the taleban and sent to Kashmir to fight the Indian soldiers along side LeT?

    As someone put it right, no one will fight your fight, for you.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A02EFD91338F935A25752C0A9649C8B63&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/W/World%20Trade%20Center%20(NYC)&scp=8&sq=%22John%20Walker%20Lindh%22%20India%20kashmir&st=cse

    Thanks for the link Naveen. As to why they have doubts, they want to pretend to have doubts as they are under the delusion that Pakistan will help them fight the terrorists! But then I guess we all know that but are helpless. – Nita.

  23. January 13, 2009 6:30 pm

    Hi Nita,
    I am taking the liberty to comment on your blog.
    Very interesting analysis and I do agree when you talk about the general Pakistani public and their disgust at these incidents.
    Living abroad has opened my eyes towards these issues as one comes across people of all backgrounds and often get their response without divulging one’s own identity. The normal Pakistani who you and I would relate to are like us – walk, talk and do the same things and when the whole world looks at them as harboring terror and at times ‘terrorists’, its not an easy survival….there is a new breed thats complaining and wants to break free.
    Its us who will have to change our thinking, and that includes the Pakistani middle class too – so that we can see eye to eye and talk common ground….as the future of these countries should be in the hands of the educated middle class and not the blood thirsty fanatics.
    Meanwhile, shall we thank our stars that the LeT left atleast one surviving member to tell us the story.
    On that note, can I add you to my links?

    Thanks Ari, and ofcourse you can add me! :) I think your solution is what is the need of the hour, middle class Pakistanis to see India as a friend and vice versa, but as you will see from this post and from one I will post tomorrow, we are far away from it! – Nita.

  24. January 13, 2009 7:13 pm

    Nita, Wonderful article – A totally different take.. All this while, I had been thinking that the terrorists were actually successful in their endeavor. Thank God, we had atleast one live terrorist..

    Thanks Smitha. I think they were partly successful but their bungling has ensured that their existence is threatened. – Nita.

  25. January 13, 2009 10:49 pm

    They may not have achieved what they wanted to but they have managed to Terrorise us enough

    They terrorised us, but now we are not terrorised anymore. We are fighting back like never before through diplomatic channels. – Nita.

  26. January 14, 2009 1:06 am

    But by the time the orders arrived, Kasab was already at the hospital, and it was too late.

    Thank heavens for small mercies.

    And may be you believe that just like Afzal Guru, one day Kasab will get punishment through the right channels of court, or may be high court, or may be supreme court, or may be the appeal to forgive him will be rejected by rashtrapati and then he will be punished… isn’t it?

    Well he may get punishment too/.

    Trust me, news and talks of Mumbai doesn’t bother me anymore. And why should they?
    On 26th of november, Mumbai was attacked, on 30th november, there were train bomb bast in Guwahati. Did any body cared about Guwahati?

    Nah I am not saying that people are regionalists. They are just insensitive. They are discussing Mumbai because news channels, media and above all the “MaiBaap” of Media and indians i.e the government want them to be sensitive about Mumbai.
    Do we believe that there will be any proper soultion or any proper justice for the victims of Mumbai?
    We even do not discuss about victims of Guwahati/

    On december 25th again, Asam faced terrorist blasts. it also went unheard.
    What I heard on the news on NDTV that day was, some officials saying again that there were inklings about this attack, but we didn’t had any solid information.

    By the way, why is Mumbai so Important for media? oh yea, its not mumbai this time, it is the foreigners, israelis, and americans this time., They were attacked isn’t it? Thus every news channel is gaining TRP’s about 26/11, comparing them with 9/11 wow! Are they guessing that if they copy-cat, they may get some american viewers too?

    How much are we sure that ISI or Pakistan government was involved any how? nah, I wonder if anybody believes that.
    Now Indian government says that since the criminals came from pakistan , pakistan government should take care of them. ok sounds plausible.

    How efficient is Indian forces to catch and control Indian criminals, murderers, rapists etc?

    India need to look for better security system, as government security systems are not efficient enough, there should be some steps taken in the direction of competitive services in security sector, providing competition for governmental security services too.
    About the cat-cat-monkey game of india-pakistan and world, it will keep rolling on entertaining some people and maintaining the TRP’s for some more time. And then suddenly after 3-4-5-6 months some city will hear some wild sounds of crackers, and it won’t be a deewali night.

    Gargi, I do have faith that Kasab will be brought to justice. In any case, I think him living at this point of time is quite torturous for him, and he has tried to kill himself several times! So killing him is of no use as he wants it. His being alive has brought shame to his ilk. About Assam, well I guess that’s true, not that much fuss is made and that is indeed sad. But the reasons for this are complex. For example, as you said, less information is available on who was behind those blasts unlike the Mumbai blasts. Also as you said the world is not interested in Assam as foreigners were not killed, so it is not a global issue. – Nita.

  27. January 14, 2009 5:30 pm

    god knows what this country has been upto!
    seriously, so many complexities, both politically and socially has screwed up everything for it

  28. January 16, 2009 7:56 pm

    Believe me, even if we put all the evidence in front of Pakistan, they are never going to accept the facts. I really wonder if there is an end to all this? Terrorism has grown into a big profit making industry. Why would anyone like to shut it down?

  29. January 17, 2009 11:15 am

    ya, but how are the diplomatic channels going to help. It’s not like we’ve never used Diplomatic channels. Let’s see where it ends.

  30. NOOR permalink
    January 24, 2009 1:24 am

    NO way!Pakistan nor any Pakistani element was involved in Mumbai bombing.We The Pakistanis do not believe that.The whole tragedy was such a farce,a drama..with so many loop holes that its stupid to even think Pakistan at this time would try such a foolist stunt when its economy is in shambles,a weak joke of a Government is in Power and country is ravished by unstability and chaos.

    It was conducted by India to trap Pakistan and name it as a Terror state which India has been trying for past 10 years and also to influence the upcoming Indian elections in favour of hardliners

    Another important point is,People give too much credit to ISI,which is not as efficient nor dedicated as percieved by he world.It has done NO great job since the fall of soviet.
    Few loop holes in Mumbai attacks are:
    The TERRORISTS were talking to pakistani handlers constantly by phones??
    Why would Pak deliberately bring blame to itself?

    They had their ID cards so conveiniently in their pockets to prove their Pak identity once captured or killed??
    The hardcore devoted muslim jihadists on a killing spree had drugs and alcohol in their bodies???

    and 10 boys in pair of 2, held a huge cosmopolitan city hostage for 3 days????

    How calm the CC tv showed images on only kasab who was so convieniently left alive nad not other terrorists??

    Why was the indian Navy sleeping the day they allegedly entered through karachi..Surely they could pick up any signal.

    I mean you guys actually believe that??No rational mind can.We are not Anti-Indians but this whole thing is so far fetched and so terribly orchestrated to shift the blame on Pakistan that the the truth becomes crystal clear.

    As far as I know we Indians do not think that the Pakistani government is behind this. Everyone knows its the terrorists groups based in Pakistan. As to why they left so much proof behind, lets say they could have made a mistake which I have written about here:

    http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/how-stupid-are-the-terrorists/

    As you say it was not the Pakistani govt. behind these groups and that is why these terrorists made mistakes and left a footprint. During Kargil the Pakistani army was handling it and they managed to hide it even from their own people although the truth is out now. Now whether elements in the ISI or the Army are involved in the Mumbai terror attacks, I think Indians do strongly suspect this, but again not the ISI or the Army as a whole or as an institution. Just some people there. – Nita.

  31. vasudev permalink
    January 26, 2009 5:10 pm

    I am not too sure about the indian government’s sainthood.

  32. February 3, 2009 8:34 am

    @Noor:

    With all due respect, and knowing that my knowledge of this situation is pretty minimal, India has shared this evidence with the world, and there isn’t a doubt in too many minds about involvement of Pakistan based terrorists groups.

    As far as your comment about ISI appearing to be inefficient, stupid etc; so did Bush.

    So while you and I have not seen this evidence (and probably never will), we just have to trust the world bodies out there. I don’t think Obama wants to burn his bridges with Pakistan, if he doesn’t have to.

    @Naveen:

    As much as I would love for some American action in the sub-continent (because our government has no credibility any more), the americans won’t be burning any bridges with pakistan any time soon. They still have Afghanistan to worry about, and an ally in the region certainly doesn’t hurt. The last thing they need is two very pissed off countries. It might be hard to accept, but they are looking out for their own interests first.

    @Amit:
    “Terrorism has grown into a big profit making industry. Why would anyone like to shut it down?”

    Could not have put it any better myself. But to build on your comment, not just terrorism, but the repression of the masses is also big money.

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