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Investigators probe Mumbai attacks -

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Investigators probe Mumbai attacks

Reporter: Maxine McKew

MAXINE McKEW, COMPERE: These scenes of chaos, fear and bloodshed are by now all too familiar.
Trains and passenger cars derailed and ripped apart, their human contents either obliterated,
broken or shaken to the core. Scenes like this first hit a stunned, global audience from Madrid in
Spain. Then from the stations of the London Underground and now from the subcontinent - Mumbai in
India. In this city of more 18 million, life can ebb away in cruel and appalling ways, well out of
sight. But this is different - an elaborate, coordinated bomb attack, a glaringly visible incident
that's underscored Mumbai on an infamous and growing hit list. Major cities struck by terrorism.
The former Bombay is one of the humming power stations of India's remarkable economic emergence. It
is still, though, a city known for its extremes - of rich and poor, comfort and squalor and,
unfortunately, it's no stranger to extremism. Since 2002, there have been four terror bombings in
Mumbai, but nothing on this scale. Huge explosions at eight points on the city's commuter rail
network during the evening peak. 183 confirmed dead, over 600 injured and emergency services
struggling to cope. As investigation and analysis intensifies, I spoke a short time ago to Dr
Samina Yasmeen, a Pakistani-born academic who now lectures in international relations at the
University of Western Australia. Her current research is focused on the agenda and techniques of
militant groups in Pakistan. I spoke to her from Perth. Dr Yasmeen, the hallmarks of this attack, a
large commercial capital, a peak-hour hit and maximum pain to the commuting public. At this stage,
what does the suggest to you?

possibilities, one is that it could Pakistani-based militant groups that have traditionally tried
to undertake such acts in India with the purpose of communicating very clearly that they are not
happy with the Indian Government's policies vis a vis its Muslim population, whether in the Mumbai
area or even in Kashmir. For that, there are a whole number of groups. Lashkar-e-Toiba is quite
well known, but there's Jaish-e-Mohammed and small outfits that have operated from Pakistan. But
then there's another possibility, which is Al Qaeda because historically, Al Qaeda had more of a
globalised outlook when it talked about the struggle between Islam and the West. It talked about
American as Christians and Israelis as the Jewish state and the struggle of Muslims was directed
against Christians and the Jewish collusion. What we do see is since the last few years, but
especially since early this year, Al Qaeda has started talking about the collusion between
Christians, Jews and Hindus. Now, that's a very interesting change in the way they have looked at
their relationship with the broader world. It's very similar to what Lashkar-e-Toiba and
Jaish-e-Mohammed have done.

MAXINE MCKEW: Is it also appropriate to make a linkage to the most recent tape of Osama bin Laden
only back in April. He, in fact, made just this linkage you've said there adding to the
Christian-Zionist conspiracy, the Hindu conspiracy as well against Muslims. So do you see a linkage
between that and perhaps this joining up, if you like, of Lashkar-e-Toiba with Al Qaeda?

DR SAMINA YASMEEN: Definitely. If you look at the way the language has moved both for
Pakistani-based groups and Al Qaeda. Pakistani-based groups expanded their discussion of the area
in terms of not just simply India, but also Chechnya, Bosnia and other areas, including Afghanistan
and Iraq. But as Al Qaeda excluded India, now it has started including India in the list, which to
me suggests that given that Al Qaeda is present in Pakistan and given the fact that not all the
groups that were being supported by Pakistani Government are now being supported by the Government
so there's a lot of unhappiness amongst these groups. So there might be the possibility of some
overlap of interest, co-operation and understanding between the Pakistani-based groups and Al Qaeda
groups that are also partly in Pakistan but elsewhere as well.

MAXINE MCKEW: What about the joint agenda then, do you think, and particularly as it relates to
what has happened in Mumbai and I stress we're in the realm of the speculative here, but, of
course, we do know that this comes at a time of a thawing in relations between India and Pakistan
and at a time when both India and Pakistan are working much more closely with the United States.

DR SAMIRA YASMEEN: I think there's definitely an element of that because Pakistani-based groups
haven't been happy with the government's attempts to curb the activities. Al Qaeda, obviously, not
only operating in Pakistan, but in Afghanistan as well, has also not been happy with the fact that
Americans tried the strategy of forcing India and Pakistan to cooperate with each other so they
could focus on the Western front, which is Afghanistan. So there is mutuality of interests between
the militants groups in Pakistan and Al Qaeda.

MAXINE MCKEW: Clearly, there must be huge capacity because this has been quite a sophisticated
operation, I mean eight coordinated attacks?

DR SAMINA YASMEEN: Exactly nut that's where I think that's the breakaway militant group, plus the
cooperation with al-Qaeda elements. That together could create the possibility of what we've just
seen. But again another element we have the think about is some form of synchronised attacks is not
something that's happened only this time. In the past, there was some efforts, they weren't that
successful from the militants' point of view, but the way it's been orchestrated, how coordinated
the whole process is, does indicate these are more than just the Pakistani militant groups. That's
where I just think the possibilities are Pakistan groups, Al Qaeda, but not Al Qaeda, just purely
based in Pakistan. They have supporters outside the region as well.

MAXINE MCKEW: Just a final and an important point. What is this going to do to relations between
both Pakistan and India? I mean, Pakistan has certainly condemned these attacks today, but
inevitably India is going to be feeling that Pakistan is not doing enough to crack down on these
militants groups?

DR SAMINA YASMEEN: That's a very strong point because I think the Indian Government, if we were in
2002, would have reacted very negatively towards these attacks. It depends how the Indian
government looks at these attacks and how it relates to Pakistan. The signs really are they are
trying to take a very cautious approach and the Indian Government they've indicated it doesn't want
its citizens to take rumours seriously and that it's really investigating and then there will be
some final conclusion as to what happened. But I do think that despite the Indian careful response
and the Pakistani Government's response, both sides do have elements that are not happy with the
approach. So while at the moment India and Pakistan are managing very well, it may not happen for
too long. But I guess another point that we need to take into account is the American policy.
Americans have been very careful since 2002 to indicate to both India and Pakistan that they want
India and Pakistan to cooperate. So there's a whole set of movements that these people have made,
steps they have taken. I guess American government would again caution Indian government to be very
careful in not blowing it too much to an extent of implicating the Pakistan Government, but I'm
sure it will also put pressure on the Pakistani Government to make sure if there was any
involvement of Pakistani-based groups that it takes action against them.

MAXINE MCKEW: For your time tonight, Dr Yasmeen, thank you very much, indeed.