Conflict & Justice

Ilyas Kashmiri was once India's nightmare

Credited with planning the November 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, the recent revenge attacks on a naval base in Karachi and a never-executed plan to assassinate the chief executive of Lockheed Martin--the maker of the Predator drone that eventually killed him--Ilyas Kashmiri was one of the murkiest figures among the leaders of Al Qaeda.

Once reportedly feted by Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf for bringing back the head of an Indian soldier from a guerrilla strike on Indian-administered Kashmir, Kashmiri was a central figure in Pakistan's proxy war against India in the 1990s, this obit from the BBC recounts. But as time passed, he turned on the leaders that nurtured him, reportedly planning the assassination of Musharraf and, more recently, coordinating the deadly siege on Mehran naval base in Karachi in revenge for Pakistan's supposed cooperation with U.S. forces in the killing of Osama bin Laden.

As the Christian Science Monitor puts it, his death is a "minor victory" for the U.S. in terms of the logistics of fighting. But it could be a significant step in realigning the pieces on the board.  For once, India, Pakistan and the U.S. eliminated a common enemy -- and, more importantly, perhaps, recognized a common enemy.  Willit mark a further shift?  That remains to be seen.

Moreover, these efforts to chip away at the most wanted list and chase militants from one region to the next come with high costs and are not yet putting militant outfits out of business, the Monitor cites experts as saying.