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Pakistan Describes Efforts Against Group Accused in Mumbai Attacks

  • Barry Newhouse

Pakistani officials are continuing to defend their efforts to crack down on the militant network blamed for November's terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Officials say they have detained 71 people suspected of links to the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba group.

Officials say those detained have been mid-level and high ranking leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Islamic charity accused of acting as a front for the militant group.

The head of Pakistan's Interior Ministry, Rehman Malik, said authorities have shut down several Jamaat-ud-Dawa relief camps that may have acted as militant training centers, closed 87 schools and more than 20 offices, and shut down Web sites and publications linked to the charity.

Malik declined to say if any evidence indicates that militants planned the attack from inside Pakistan. India insists the plot that resulted in more than 170 deaths has extensive links to militants in Pakistan and some officials have alleged that current or former Pakistani intelligence agents may have played a role in the operation.

Malik said officials in both countries are working hard to overcome the tensions caused by the attack.

"That is what the terrorists want. They want to see a wedge between Pakistan and India. They want to see the tension between Pakistan and India. Let us act maturely," said Malik.

Wednesday, India's army chief said India is keeping open all options, including military force, to respond to the attacks.

Malik again called for more cooperation between the two countries in investigating the attacks. But he also downplayed what he said was a nine-page intelligence memo that India handed over to Pakistani officials as evidence in the operation.

Malik said the document contains unverified information and a Pakistani commission is evaluating the data.

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