Pakistan’s Taliban movement has threatened to attack Indian targets to avenge the country’s execution of Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the fighter squad responsible for a rampage through Mumbai that killed 166 people in 2008.
Kasab was hanged on Wednesday amid great secrecy, underscoring the political sensitivity of the November 26, 2008, massacre, which still casts a pall over relations between nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India.
“We have decided to target Indians to avenge the killing of Ajmal Kasab,” said Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Ehsan demanded that India return Kasab’s body.
“If they don’t return his body to us or his family we will capture Indians and will not return their bodies,” he said, adding that the Taliban will try to strike Indian targets “anywhere”.
The Taliban, who are close to al-Qaeda, are seen as one of the biggest security threats in Pakistan and are blamed for many of the suicide bombings across the country. They have not carried out major attacks abroad.
Kasab was charged with 86 offences, including murder and waging war against the Indian state, in a charge-sheet running to more than 11,000 pages.
It was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004.
There was celebration on the streets of Mumbai and other cities as news of the execution spread, but armed groups in Pakistan reacted angrily, as did residents of his home village of Faridkot.
People set off fireworks and handed out sweets in Indian cities. Some held up photos of Kasab with a rope noose superimposed over his head.