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26/11: ‘America sacrificed Mumbai’

‘What America could figure out is that this finally was an American with an American passport operating in Pakistan who had access to Al Qaeda. Now the prime objective of that time was the capture of bin Laden.’

‘This is three years before Abbottabad, the only thing that the US intelligence agencies were thinking about was how do they decapitate him, how do they cut the head off of Al Qaeda and here was this tantalising, untrustworthy, difficult, hard to control, psychopathic individual, who was American.’

Adrian Levy, co-author of the book The Siege: The Attack on the Taj, speaks to Rediff.com‘s Sheela Bhatt in an compelling interview.

This is one book that was dying to be written. The siege of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai which began on November 26, 2008 by Pakistani terrorists and ended three days later was one emotion-filled, historic event that caught the world’s attention.

Not just Mumbai, but India was under siege as Pakistani jihadis went about killing 166 innocent people, largely Indians.

Those hours were filled with astonishment, anguish and anger. A few Indian authors published books soon after the terror attacks, but no Indian media or authors have brought out the depth of the event and spread of the operation that took place before the horrendous event and its implications for the future of India and the world.

The comprehensive version has now arrived in the form of The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel. The distinguished authors Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy are well-respected names in South Asia with remarkable books like Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy to their credit.

Buy The Siege here!

Levy has written extensively on Burma, Russia, Cambodia, and Pakistan. He has worked with the British print media and is an acclaimed filmmaker who has directed some incisive films for various channels, including the BBC and The History Channel.

In an exclusive interview to Rediff.com, Levy narrates the hard work that went into the making of the book which highlights how America’s compromise with David Coleman Headley, one of the masterminds of the attacks, affected India’s national interest.

The book is worth reading because it is written after getting Pakistan’s version of the genesis of the terror plot, America’s dealing with Headley and its self-centered diplomacy and, most importantly, truly exhaustive details that have been obtained from the Indian system.

Scott-Clark and Levy travelled to 15 countries on four continents and interviewed hundreds of sources, witnesses and people, including the parents of Pakistani jihadis who landed in south Mumbai to attack the city.

The book re-creates the human tragedy inside the Taj Mahal hotel in those 68 hours, giving a virtual second-by-second account of what went on inside when the world was watching the horror unfolding on television.

Levy tells Rediff.com‘s Sheela Bhatt that even five years after the terror attacks, the Indian establishment has not honestly approached the event and learnt the right lessons.

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