Gunman 'textbook radical'

Mumbai - Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, who on Monday admitted being part of a 10-man group that carried out last year's Mumbai attacks, was ripe for recruitment by Islamist militants, police and security experts said.
India blames the attacks, which killed 166 and wounded more than 300 others, on the banned, Pakistan-based Islamist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The group is said to have trained, equipped and financed the deadly operation.
"He (Kasab) fits the profile if you look at the terrorists recruited by Lashkar-e-Taiba," Wilson John, senior fellow at New Delhi's Observer Research Foundation and a specialist in extremist groups, told AFP recently.
"They come from lower-middle class or poor families. They're not entirely uneducated, just a little bit educated, they're unemployed and looking for a job. They're not religiously inclined but they can be brainwashed.
"He was a prime target."
The few biographical details that have come to light so far show that Kasab, who had previously denied any involvement in the strikes at his high-profile trial, was born and brought up in Faridkot, in the Punjab region of Pakistan. His father Mohammed Amir Iman ran a food stall in the village, and his mother was called Noor, Britain's The Observer newspaper said in December, citing the local electoral roll.
Kasab dropped out of school in 2000 and worked as a labourer in the eastern city of Lahore until 2005, according to his apparent "confession" to police, which was widely published here.
Duped by father
But two different versions have emerged of how he was recruited by LeT.
His "confession" - which Kasab said in court was extracted under torture while in police custody - said he and a colleague turned to the group for weapons training after deciding to embark on a life of crime.
An earlier report in the Mumbai Mirror newspaper and purporting to be a transcript of his questioning about an hour after his arrest, says he claimed his father duped him into it.
"My father told me we will get lots of money. We would be able to live like other rich people," he allegedly said.
Whatever happened, Kasab learnt how to use an AK-47 assault rifle and make improvised explosive devices that were later put to deadly effect in Mumbai.
One Faridkot farmer told The Observer that Kasab used to return to the village and talk of "freeing Kashmir" - a key LeT aim.
Pakistan's poor villages are said to be virtual breeding grounds for extremist groups.
Recruits are sent to training camps in Punjab, the lawless North West Frontier Province and Waziristan tribal regions, and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Joining a group like LeT "offers them a sense of identity", said John.
"They find a purpose in these groups when they are without an objective in life. They're given the protection and comfort of a community."
Mumbai's crime branch chief Rakesh Maria, who led the investigation into the attacks, has also said that Kasab - and his nine slain colleagues - were textbook examples of radicalisation.
"Indoctrination and brainwashing were done to make them fit to send on a mission like this," he told in an interview.