We're finally receiving reliable information on the Mumbai attack, and it's clear that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) is the group responsible. For many folks this may have been the first time they've heard of the group, but I've been studying thwarted plots since 2004, and in nearly every case there was some LeT connection. Either the plotters trained in LeT camps, directed by LeT handlers, or LeT members. Many of these failed plots shared elements seen in Mumbai. It's as if LeT had been attempting Mumbai-like attacks for a long time. After numerous attempts in the UK, Australia, and the US, they succeeded in India.
Here's a list of the failed plots that included some connection to Let. I'm working from memory, folks. I'll write down what I can remember off the top of my head now, and return to this tomorrow (tomorrow's edits will be in green):
2000-2004, "Operation Crevice": British Muslims -- most of Pakistani descent -- were arrested in early 2004 after plotting to bomb a dance club, a shopping mall, and other sites. The cell also included a Canadian, Momin Khawaja and had connections with an American, Junaid Babar.
2000-2004, "Banks Plot": Lead by AQ's emir in the UK - Issa al-Hindi -- the plot included targets in NYC's financial district, including a former Jewish center, financial institutions in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Al-Hindi's professional reconnaissance reports and videos of the intended targets were discovered after his arrest. His time operating in Kashmir for LeT, also known as "The Army of Madinah," is immortalized in The Army of Madinah in Kashmir (see my study here).
2001-2003, Lodhi-Brigitte Plot.
An early Australian plot to target Australia's electric power grid and
attack different sites around Sydney ended in November 2003 Australian
officials arrested a French convert to Islam -- Willie Brigitte -- who
had received training in a Lashkar camp. According to court records he
was directed to go to Australia by an LeT handler and hook up with
Also note that members of the Virginia Jihad Network testified at Faheem Lodhi's trial.
2002-2005, London 7/7: Four men bombed the London transportation systems. Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed responsibility for the attacks. At least one of the bombers -- Shehzad Tanweer -- attend LeT madrasa in Pakistan.
2003-2005, Lodi Case. Hamid Hayat attends a LeT camp where he is trained to attack financial and government buildings.
2004-2006, "Operation Pendennis": 22 men were arrested in cells based in Melbourne (and Sydney) was plotting attacks on the Melbourne Stock Exchange and a train station among other targets including tourist sites in Sydney. Several of the members had received training in an LeT camp.
2004-2006, "Airliner Plot:" Members of the UK based cell plotting to detonate sophisticated liquid explosives on 10 jumbo airliners crossing the Atlantic were associated with "charitable" services in Kashmir.
January 2008, Barcelona Case: Spanish authorities arrest 14 people, most from the subcontinent in a plot that they described at the time as an attack like Madrid. "The detainees were part of a terrorist sleeper cell which was activated from Pakistan with the arrival in Spain of one of their members, who acted as liaison with the leadership of Al-Qaida, the report said."
This list wasn't meant to be comprehensive, only illustrative of LeT's oeprational persistance. It's not just a "Kashmir" group, and it hasn't been for quite some time. The questions now are: why? how? and who? And my favorite: where does AQ end and LeT begin?