David Miliband has absolved the Pakistani government of direct responsibility for the Mumbai terrorist attacks, while at the same time saying they need to do more to crack down on those responsible.

  Krittivas Mukherjee for Reuters:

Britain’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that he believed the Pakistan state did not direct the Mumbai attacks, contradicting accusations from the Indian government that state agencies were involved. “I have said publicly that I do not believe that the attacks were directed by the Pakistani state and I think it’s important to restate that,” David Miliband told a news conference.


Miliband said it was clear the attacks originated from Pakistan, and Islamabad had to crack down on the militants operating on its soil, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which has been blamed for the Mumbai attacks.  “We are absolutely clear about the origin of the terrorist attack, and the responsibility that exists in Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Miliband said. “What is relevant is the approach of the Pakistani state to the LeT organization and the way the Pakistani state takes on the menace of the LeT organization,” he added. . . . Miliband too said Pakistan needed to do more. “You know there is a history of people being arrested and then not being prosecuted or brought to justice,” he said, adding Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was “sincere” about tackling militancy and needed the Pakistani state machinery’s support.  “In this case it is essential that those who have been arrested are brought to justice and if they are found guilty then properly punished. And that is an appropriate response to the evidence that has been presented.”

Part of the confusion stems from the fact that Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, from which most of the region’s terrorists operate, are poorly named.  “Federally adminstered” is precisely what they are not, after all.   It’s not entirely clear that Pakistan’s central government has the capability of doing much about rogue elements there.

James Joyner is managing editor of the Atlantic Council.

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