The United States is gravely concerned over the release on bail of the suspected planner of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who had been in Pakistani custody for the past six years, was released on bail April 10, after a ruling by the Lahore High Court.
Mr. Lakhvi is a top leader of the terrorist group Lashkare-Tayyiba, which is believed to be responsible for the 11/26 attacks that killed 166 people in the Indian city of Mumbai, including six U.S. citizens.
The United States has long insisted that bringing those responsible for the Mumbai attacks to justice is a key priority. At a press briefing, State Department Acting Deputy Spokesperson Jeff Rathke said the United States has communicated to senior Pakistan officials its concern over the release of Mr. Lakhvi.
“Terrorist attacks are an assault on the collective safety and security of all countries,” noted Mr. Rathke. “Pakistan has pledged its cooperation in bringing the perpetrators, financiers, and sponsors of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice, and we urge Pakistan to follow through on that commitment to ensure justice for the 166 innocent people, including six Americans, who lost their lives.”
The United States regards Pakistan as a key partner in counterterrorism. Pakistan recently handed over a U.S. citizen who has been indicted for providing material support to terrorists. Last year, Pakistani military forces successfully undertook an operation that targeted an individual who had been indicted in plots to bomb the New York City subway system. The State Department’s latest annual report on terrorism noted that Pakistan “continued to confront terrorist groups, including al-Qa’ida (AQ), Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Punjabi Taliban, and Lashkar-I-Jhangvi (LJ), all of whom mounted attacks against police, military and security forces, or engaged in sectarian violence and criminal activities against all sectors of society.”
The State Department report also mentioned that “Pakistan did not confront Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, however, who continued to operate, rally, and fundraise in Pakistan with its front organizations.”
All individuals and groups who target civilians to kill and maim in order to achieve political goals must be stopped and held accountable for the violence they commit. Justice and civilization require it.