ISLAMABAD: The venue was Miramshah.
The attendants of the meeting included some of the most notorious militants of Pakistan. And their agenda was nothing short of explosive — an attack on the GHQ with the aim to take military officers hostage.
Shortly after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009, Aqeel Ahmed alias Dr Usman alias Kamran alias Nazir Ahmed fled to Waziristan where he met the head of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan`s Amjad Farooqui Group, Ustad Aslam Yasin and Ilyas Kashmiri.
It was at this meeting that the idea of the attack on the General Headquarters was floated, reveals the main accused of the attack, Ahmed, in a confessional statement. He along with his seven accomplices was convicted by a military court on Aug 11, 2011, for the audacious attack on the GHQ in October 2009. Shooting their way into the military`s main headquarters, cowboy style, the militants took men hostage in one of the buildings. They remained there till the next morning when commandos finally entered the building, killing most of the militants and rescuing the hostages.
The brazen attack took the military and the nation by surprise; it was a successful operation from the psychological point of view.
The confessional statement of Ahmed reveals the detailed planning that went into the attack.
He also claims that in the Miramshah meeting he was reluctant to attack the army. However, the other two men argued that the Pakistan Army as an ally of the United States was a legitimate target.
Ilyas Kashmiri said that the plan was to hold army generals hostage at the GHQ till they could get detained militants released in exchange. According to the statement, Yasin gave Ahmed a list with 115 names on it; these were the men whose release was to be demanded. He also assured Ahmed that he would be accompanied by a team of trained warriors.
Ahmed also revealed that he and his accomplices used Google Earth to download the maps of GHQ on the basis of which they planned their attacks.
The planning, according to the court documents, took the team months. Apart from arranging for the weapons that were brought to Rawalpindi from Jhang, the accused made multiple reconnaissance trips to the GHQ during the summer of 2009.