Lashkar-e-Taiba


Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba
لشکرطیبہ
Dates of operation 1990[1][2][3]–present
Leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed
Motives Integration of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan after ending Indian rule in the state & propagation of pan-Islamism in South Asia[4]
Active region(s) Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh [4]
Ideology Islamism
Islamic fundamentalism
Pan-Islamism
Wahhabi Islam[5]
Notable attacks Jammu & Kashmir attacks; November 2008 Mumbai attacks (attributed to LeT members)
Status Designated U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organization by U.S. (26 Dec 2001); Banned in UK. (2001); Banned in Pakistan (2002); Related Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JUD) party banned by US. (2006), sanctioned by the UN. (2008), banned in E.U (2010)
Size 500 – 1,000 operatives (2001)

Lashkar-e-Taiba (Urdu: لشکرطیبہ [ˈləʃkər eː ˈt̪ɛːjbaː]; literally Army of the Good, translated as Army of the Righteous, or Army of the Pure)[2][6][7] – also transliterated as Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Lashkar Taiba or LeT – is one of the largest and most active militant Islamist terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan.

It was founded by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Zafar Iqbal[8][9] in Afghanistan.[10] With its headquarters based in Muridke, near Lahore in Punjab province of Pakistan,[6] the group operates several training camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.[3]

Lashkar-e-Taiba has attacked civilian and military targets in India, most notably the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the 2001 Indian Parliament attack.[11] Its objective is to introduce an Islamic state in South Asia and to liberate Muslims residing in Indian Kashmir.[9][12] The organization is banned as a terrorist organization by India, Pakistan, the United States,[13] the United Kingdom,[7] the European Union,[14] Russia[15] and Australia.[16] Some experts such as former French investigating magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière and New America Foundation writer Stephen Tankel believe that Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), continues to give LeT intelligence help and protection. [17]

Contents

Objective

While the primary area of operations of the their militant activities is the Kashmir valley, the outfit is also active in the Jammu region besides having undertaken repeated and confirmed attacks in other parts of India and on Indian mission in Afghanistan.[citation needed] Their professed goal is not limited to challenging India's sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir. Their aims include establishing an Islamic state in South Asia and uniting all Muslim-majority regions in countries that surround Pakistan to raise jihad against all non-Muslim communities.[2][3][9]

LeT sees the issue of Kashmir as part of a wider global struggle.[18] The group has repeatedly claimed through its journals and websites that its main aim is to destroy the Indian republic and to annihilate Hinduism and Judaism. LeT has declared Hindus and Jews to be the "enemies of Islam", as well as India and Israel to be the "enemies of Pakistan".[19] In a pamphlet entitled "Why Are We Waging Jihad?" the group defined its agenda as the restoration of Islamic rule over all parts of India and declared India, Israel and the United States as existential enemies of Islam.[5][20] The LeT believes that violent jihad is the duty of all Muslims and must be waged until eight objectives are met: ending persecution against Muslims, establishing Islam as the dominant way of life in the world, forcing infidels to pay jizya, fighting for the weak and feeble against oppressors, exacting revenge for killed Muslims, punishing enemies for violating oaths and treaties, defending all Muslim states, and recapturing occupied Muslim territory.[21]

In the wake of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, investigations of computer and email accounts revealed a list of 320 locations worldwide deemed as possible targets for attack. Only 20 of the targets were locations within India. Analysts believed that the list was a statement of intent rather than a list of locations where LeT cells had been established and were ready to strike.[22]

In January 2009 the LeT publicly declared that it would pursue a peaceful resolution in the Kashmir issue and that it did not have global jihadist aims, but the group is still believed to be active in several other spheres of anti-Indian terrorism.[23][24]

Personnel

Organizations listed as terrorist groups by India
Northeastern India
National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM)
Naga National Council-Federal (NNCF)
National Council of Nagaland-Khaplang
United Liberation Front of Asom
People's Liberation Army
(Manipur)
Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL)
Zomi Revolutionary Front
Kashmir
Al-Badr
Al-Badr Mujahideen
Al Barq (ABQ)
Al Fateh Force (AFF)
Al Jihad Force (AJF)/Al Jihad
Al Mujahid Force (AMF)
Al Umar Mujahideen (AUR/Al Umar)
Awami Action Committee (AAC)
Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DEM)
Harakat-ul-Ansar
Harakat-ul-Jihad-I-Islami
Harakat-ul-Mujahideen
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HUM)
Ikhwan-ul-Musalmeen (IUM)
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM)
Lashkar-e-Mohammadi
Jammat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM)
Jammat-ul-Mujahideen Almi (JUMA)
Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP)
Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF)
Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islami (JKJEI)
Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET)
Jaish-e-Mohammed
Kul Jammat Hurriyat Conference (KJHC)
Mahaz-e-Azadi (MEA)
Muslim Janbaaz Force (MJF/Jaanbaz Force)
Muslim Mujahideen (MM)
Hizbul Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Farzandan-e-Milat
United Jihad Council
Al-Qaeda
Students Islamic Movement of India Tehreek-e-Jihad (TEJ)
Pasban-e-Islami (PEI/Hizbul Momineen HMM)
Shora-e-Jihad (SEJ)
Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TUM)
North India
Babbar Khalsa
Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan
Communist Party of India (Maoist)
Dashmesh Regiment
International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)
Kamagata Maru Dal of Khalistan]
Khalistan Liberation Force
Khalistan Commando Force
Khalistan Liberation Army
Khalistan Liberation Front
Khalistan Liberation Organisation
Khalistan National Army
Khalistan Guerilla Force
Khalistan Security Force
Khalistan Zindabad Force
Central India
People's war group
Balbir militias
Naxals
Ranvir Sena
v · d · e
  • Hafiz Muhammad Saeed – Living in Pakistan – Founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and amir of its political arm, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).[25] Shortly after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks Saeed denied any links between the two groups: "No Lashkar-e-Taiba man is in Jamaat-ud-Dawa and I have never been a chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba."[26]
  • Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi – In custody of Pakistan military[27] – Senior member of LeT. Named as being one of the masterminds of the Mumbai attack.[28][29]
  • Yusuf Muzammil – Senior member of LeT. Named as a mastermind of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks by surviving gunman Ajmal Kasab.[28]
  • Zarrar Shah – in Pakistani custody – one of Lashkar-e-Taiba's primary liaisons to the ISI. An American official said that he was a "central character" in the planning behind the Mumbai attacks in 2008.[30] Zarar Shah has boasted to Pakistani investigators about his role in the attacks.[31]
  • Muhammad Ashraf – LeT's top financial officer. Although not directly connected to the 2008 Mumbai plot, he was added to the U.N. list of people that sponsor terrorism after the attacks.[32] However, Geo TV reported that six years earlier Ashraf became seriously ill while in custody and died at Civil Hospital on June 11, 2002.[33][34]
  • Mahmoud Mohamed Ahmed Bahaziq – The leader of LeT in Saudi Arabia and one of its financiers. Although not directly connected to the Mumbai plot, the U.N. added him to its list of individuals that sponsor terrorism after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[32][34]
  • Nasr Javed – A Kashmiri senior operative,[35] is on the list of individuals banned from entering the United Kingdom for "engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs."[36]

History

Formation

In 1985, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and Zafar Iqbal formed the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (Organization for Preaching, or JuD) as a small missionary group dedicated to promoting an Ahl-e-Hadith version of Islam. In the next year, Zaki-ur Rehman Lakvi merged his group of anti-Soviet jihadists with the JuD to form the Markaz-ud Dawa-wal-Irshad (Center for Preaching and Guidance, or MDI). The MDI had 17 founders originally, and notable among them was Abdullah Azzam.[21]

The LeT was formed in Afghanistan's Kunar province in 1990[2] and gained prominence in the early 1990s as a military offshoot of MDI.[3] MDI's primary concerns were dawah and the LeT focused on jihad although the members did not distinguish between the two groups' functions. According to Hafiz Saeed, "Islam propounds both dawa[h] and jihad. Both are equally important and inseparable. Since our life revolves around Islam, therefore both dawa and jihad are essential; we cannot prefer one over the other."[21]

Lashkar-e-Taiba was formed in May 1990, as hostilities between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue and the Siachen conflict had increased considerably to be on the verge of war, with the sole aim of providing volunteers for the Pakistani Army aided militancy in Indian Kashmir. The logistical and intelligence support was provided by ISI.[citation needed]

It was at a time when militancy in Kashmir was at its peak (which had started in the late 1980s), but most Kashmiri militants were secular nationalists who advocated an independent Kashmir as opposed to "secession to Pakistan" which the religiously-motivated militant groups advocated. Lashkar-e-Taiba was at that time the only militant organization whose aim was to forcefully secede Kashmir to Pakistan. It was formed in 1990 with the blessings and design of the then Army chief General Mirza Aslam Baig and the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The newly formed organization was assured supply of arms and veterans left over from the anti-Soviet Afghan War of the 1980s, as well as access to the training camps which were used to train the Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980s.[citation needed]

Most of these training camps were located in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and many were shifted to Azad Kashmir for the sole purpose of training volunteers for the Kashmir Jihad. From 1991 onwards, militancy surged in Indian Kashmir, as many Lashkar-e-Taiba volunteers were infiltrated into Indian Kashmir from Azad Kashmir with the help of the Pakistan Army and ISI.[10] As of 2010, the degree of control that Pakistani intelligence retains over LeT’s operations is not known.[37]

Designation as terrorist group

Lashkar-e-Taiba had links to Jama'at-ud-Da'wah, however Jama'at-ud-Da'wah publicly retracted any association with them after the United States Department of State declared Lashkar-e-Taiba to be a terrorist organization.[citation needed]

On March 28, 2001, in Statutory Instrument 2001 No. 1261, British Home Secretary Jack Straw designated the group a Proscribed Terrorist Organization under the Terrorism Act 2000.[38][39]

On December 5, 2001, the group was added to the Terrorist Exclusion List. In a notification dated December 26, 2001, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, designated Lashkar-e-Taiba a Foreign Terrorist Organisation.

Lashkar-e-Taiba was banned in Pakistan on January 12, 2002.[7]

It is banned in India as a designated terrorist group under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.[40]

It was listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia under the Security Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Act 2002 on 11 April 2003 and was re-listed 11 April 2005 and 31 March 2007.[41][42]

On 2 May 2008 it was placed on the Consolidated List established and maintained by the Committee established by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 as an entity associated with al-Qaeda. The report also proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawa as a front group of the LeT linked to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban[43]

The aftermath of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks

According to a media report, the JuD was accused by the U.S. of being the front group for the prime suspects of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the organization that trained the 10 gunmen involved in these attacks.[44]

On December 7, 2008, under pressure from USA and India, Pakistani army launched an operation against LeT and raided a markaz (centre) of the LeT at Shawai Nullah, 5 km from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-controlled Azad Kashmir. The army arrested more than twenty members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. They are said to have sealed off the centre, which included a madrasah and a mosque alongside offices of the LeT according to the government of Pakistan.[45][46]

On December 10, 2008 India formally requested the United Nations Security Council to designate JuD as a terrorist organization. Subsequently, Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain gave an undertaking, saying,[47]

After the designation of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JUD) under (resolution) 1267, the government on receiving communication from the Security Council shall proscribe the JUD and take other consequential actions, as required, including the freezing of assets.

A similar assurance was given by Pakistan in 2002 when it clamped down on the LeT; however, the LeT was covertly allowed to function under the guide of the JuD. While arrests have been made, the Pakistani Government has categorically refused to allow any foreign investigators access to Hafiz Saeed.

On December 11, 2008 the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on JuD, declaring it a global terrorist group. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the chief of JuD declared that his group will challenge the sanctions imposed on it in all forums.[48] Pakistan's government also banned the JuD on the same day and issued an order to seal the JuD in all four provinces, as well as Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.[49] Before the ban JuD ran a weekly newspaper named Ghazwah, two monthly magazines called Majalla Tud Dawaa and Zarb e Taiba, and a fortnightly magazine for children, Nanhe Mujahid. The publications have since been banned by the Pakistani government. In addition to the prohibition of JuD's print publications, the organisation's websites were also shut down by the Pakistani government.

After the ban imposed by UNSC, Hindu minority groups in Pakistan came out in support of JuD. At protest marches in Hyderabad, Hindu groups said that JuD does charity work such as setting up water wells in desert regions and providing food to the poor.[50] However, the credibility of the level of support during the protest is questionable. Several protesters claim to have been under the impression they were protesting price rises. The BBC reported that protesters on their way to what they believed was a rally against price rises were handed signs in support of JuD.[50] The organizations' banning has been met with heavy criticism in many Pakistani circles,[by whom?] which include many Christians and Hindus, as JuD was the first to react to the Kashmir earthquake and the Ziarat Earthquake. It also ran over 160 schools with thousands of students and provided aid in hospitals as well.[51]

In January 2009 the JuD spokesperson, Abdullah Muntazir, stressed that the group did not have global jihadist aspirations and would welcome a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. He also publicly disowned LeT commanders Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarrar Shah, who have both been accused of being the masterminds behind the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.[24]

In response to the UN resolution and the government ban, the JuD reorganized itself under the name of Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awal (TTQA).[24]

Activities

The group actively carried out attacks on Indian Armed Forces in Kashmir and Jammu. It is considered a well-trained group.[by whom?]. Its members undergo training in basic infantry skills and guerilla warfare for 6–7 months in camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and NWFP.They are often trained by Special Service Group operators of the Pakistan Army.[citation needed]

The group conducts training camps and humanitarian work. These camps have long been tolerated[when?] by the Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency because of their usefulness against India and in Afghanistan although they have been instructed not to mount any operations for now.[52][dated info]

Some breakaway Lashkar members have been accused of carrying out attacks in Pakistan, particularly in Karachi, to mark its opposition to the policies of former President Pervez Musharraf.[7][53][54]

Notable incidents

  • 1998 Wandhama massacre: 23 Kashmiri pandits were murdered on 25 January 1998.[55]
  • In March 2000, Lashkar-e-Taiba militants are claimed to have been involved in the Chittisinghpura massacre, where 35 Sikhs in the town of Chittisinghpura in Kashmir were killed. An 18-year-old male, who was arrested in December of that year, admitted in an interview with a New York Times correspondent to the involvement of the group and expressed no regret in perpetrating the anti-Sikh massacre. In a separate interview with the same correspondent, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed denied knowing the young man and dismissed any possible involvement of LeT.[56][57] In 2010, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) associate David Headley, who was arrested in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks, reportedly confessed to the National Investigation Agency that the LeT carried out the Chittisinghpura massacre.[58] He is said to have identified an LeT militant named Muzzamil as part of the group which carried out the killings apparently to create communal tension just before Clinton’s visit.[59]
  • The LeT was also held responsible by the government for the December 23, 2000 attack in Red Fort, New Delhi.[60] LeT confirmed its participation in the Red Fort attack.[1]
  • LeT claimed responsibility for an attack on the Srinagar Airport that left five Indians and six militants dead.[1]
  • The group claimed responsibility for an attack on Indian security forces along the border.[1]
  • The Indian government blamed LeT, in coordination with Jaish-e-Mohammed, for a December 13, 2001 assault on parliament in Delhi.[61]
  • 2002 Kaluchak massacre 31 killed May 14, 2002. Australian government attributed this massacre to Lashkar-e-Taiba when it designated it as a terrorist organization.[62]
  • 2003 Nadimarg Massacre 24 Kashmiri pandits gunned down on the night of March 23, 2003.
  • 2005 Delhi bombings: During Diwali, Lashkar-e-Taiba bombed crowded festive Delhi markets killing 60 civilians and maiming 527.[63]
  • 2006 Varanasi bombings: Lashkar-e-Taiba was involved in serial blasts in Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh. 37 people died and 89 were seriously injured.[64]
  • 2006 Doda massacre 34 Hindus were killed in Kashmir on April 30, 2006.
  • 2006 Mumbai train bombings: The investigation launched by Indian forces and US officials have pointed to the involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba in Mumbai serial blasts on 11 July 2006. The Mumbai serial blasts on 11 July claimed 211 lives and maimed about 407 people and seriously injured another 768.[65][66]
  • On September 12, 2006 the propaganda arm of the Lashkar-e-Taiba issued a fatwa against Pope Benedict XVI demanding that Muslims assassinate him for his controversial statements about the prophet Muhammad.[67]
  • On September 16, 2006, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, Abu Saad, was killed by the troops of 9-Rashtriya Rifles in Nandi Marg forest in Kulgam. Saad belongs to Lahore in Pakistan and also oversaw LeT operations for the past three years in Gul Gulabhgash as the outfit's area commander. Apart from a large quantity of arms and ammunition, high denomination Indian and Pakistani currencies were also recovered from the slain militant.[68]
  • In November 2008, Lashkar-e-Taiba was the primary suspect behind the Mumbai attacks but denied any part.[69] The lone surviving gunman, Ajmal Amir Kasab, captured by Indian authorities admitted the attacks were planned and executed by the organization.[70][71] United States intelligence sources confirmed that their evidence suggested Lashkar-e-Taiba is behind the attacks.[72] A July 2009 report from Pakistani investigators confirmed that LeT was behind the attack.[73]
  • On 7 December 2008, under pressure from USA and India, the Pakistan Army launched an operation against LeT and Jamat-ud-Dawa to arrest people suspected of 26/11 Mumbai attacks.[74][75]
  • In August 2009, LeT issued an ultimatum to impose Islamic dress code in all colleges in Jammu and Kashmir, sparking fresh fears in the tense region.[76]
  • In September and October 2009, Israeli and Indian intelligence agencies issued alerts warning that LeT is planning to attack Jewish religious places in Pune, India and other locations visited by Western and Israeli tourists in India. The gunmen who attacked the Mumbai headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch movement during the November 2008 attacks were reportedly instructed that “Every person you kill where you are is worth 50 of the ones killed elsewhere.” [77]
  • News sources have reported that members of LeT were planning to attack the U.S. and Indian embassies in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on November 26, 2009, to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. At least seven men have been arrested in connection to the plot, including a senior member of LeT.[77]
  • Two Chicago residents, David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, were allegedly working with LeT in planning an attack against the offices and employees of Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper that published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Indian news sources have also implicated the men in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks and in LeT’s Fall 2009 plans to attack the U.S. and Indian embassies in Bangladesh.[78]

Funding

Pakistan began to fund the LeT during the early 1990s and by around 1995 the funding had grown considerably. During this time the army and the ISI helped establish the LeT's military structure with the specific intent to use the militant group against India. The LeT also obtained funds through efforts of the MDI's Department of Finance.[21]

Until 2002 the group collected funds through public fundraising events usually using charity boxes in shops and mosques.[79] The group also received money through donations at MDI offices, through personal donations collected at public celebrations of an operative's martyrdom, and through its website.[21] The outfit also collected donations from the Pakistani immigrant community in the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom, Islamic Non-Governmental Organisations, and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen.[2][21][80] Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives have also been apprehended in India, where they had been obtaining funds from sections of the Muslim Community.[81]

Although many of the funds collected went towards legitimate uses, e.g. factories and other businesses, a significant portion was dedicated to military activities. According to U.S. intelligence, the LeT had a military budget of more than $5 million by 2009.[21]

Use of charity aid to fund operations

LeT assisted victims after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. In many instances, they were the first on the scene, arriving before the army or other civilians.[82]

A large amount of funds collected among the Pakistani expatriate community in Britain to aid victims of the earthquake were funneled for the activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba although the donors were unaware. About £5 million were collected, but more than half of the funds were directed towards LeT rather than towards relief efforts. Intelligence officials stated that some of the funds were used to prepare for an attack that would have detonated explosives on board transatlantic airflights.[83] Other investigations also indicated the aid given for earthquake victims was directly involved to expand Lashkar-e-Taiba's activities within India.[84]

External relationships

Role in India-Pakistan relations

LeT attacks have increased tensions in the already contentious relationship between India and Pakistan. Part of the LeT strategy may be to deflect the attention of Pakistan's military away from the tribal areas and towards its border with India. Attacks in India also aim to exacerbate tensions between India's Hindu and Muslim communities and help LeT recruitment strategies in India.[18]

LeT cadres have also been arrested in different cities of India. On May 27, a LeT militant was arrested from Hajipur in Gujarat. On August 15, 2001, a LeT militant was arrested from Bhatinda in Punjab.[citation needed]

Allegations of ISI involvement

Pakistan’s security agencies are reported to have provided training to the outfit.

According to the declaration of LeT operatives, the Pakistan Army from its 12th Infantry Division based in Azad Kashmir aids members of the outfit in their infiltration, extraction and clashes with Indian security forces around the Line of Control (LoC) by providing covering fire.[85]

The LeT was also reported to have been directed by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to widen its network in the Jammu region where a considerable section of the populace comprised Punjabis. The LeT has a large number of activists who hail from Pakistani Punjab and can thus effectively penetrate into Jammu society.[86]

A December 13, 2001 news report cited a LeT spokesperson as saying that the outfit wanted to avoid a clash with the Pakistani government. He claimed a clash was possible because of the suddenly conflicting interests of the government and of the militant outfits active in Jammu and Kashmir even though the government had been an ardent supporter of Muslim freedom movements, particularly that of Kashmir.[87]

Pakistan denies giving orders to Lashkar-e-Taiba's activities. However, the Indian government and many non-governmental think-tanks allege that the Pakistani ISI is involved with the group.[2] The situation with LeT causes considerable strain in Indo-Pakistani relations, which are already mired in suspicion and mutual distrust.

Role in Afghanistan

The Lashkar-e-Taiba was created to participate in the Mujahideen conflict against the Najibullah regime in Afghanistan. In the process, the outfit developed deep linkages with Afghanistan and has several Afghan nationals in its cadre. The outfit had also cultivated links with the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan and also with Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network. Even while refraining from openly displaying these links, the LeT office in Muridke was reportedly used as a transit camp for third country recruits heading for Afghanistan.[88]

Guantanamo detainee Khalid Bin Abdullah Mishal Thamer Al Hameydani's Combatant Status Review Tribunal said that he had received training via Lashkar-e-Taiba.[89]

The Combatant Status Review Tribunals of Taj Mohammed and Rafiq Bin Bashir Bin Jalud Al Hami, and the Administrative Review Board hearing of Abdullah Mujahid and Zia Ul Shah allege that they too were members or former members of Lashkar-e-Taiba.[90][91][92][93]

Links with other militant groups

While the primary focus for the Lashkar is the operations in Indian Kashmir, it has frequently provided support to other international terrorist groups. Primary among these is the Al-Qaeda Network in Afghanistan. LeT members also have been reported to have engaged in conflicts in the Philippines, Bosnia, the Middle East and Chechnya.[94] There are also allegations that members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam conducted arms transfers and made deals with LeT in the early 1990s[95]

Al-Qaeda

  • The Lashkar is claimed to have operated a military camp in post–September 11 Afghanistan, and extending support to the ousted Taliban regime.[citation needed] The outfit had claimed that it had assisted the Taliban militia and Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan during November and December 2002 in their fight against the US-aided Northern Alliance.[citation needed]
  • A leading Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah, who became operational chief of Al-Qaeda after the death of Mohammed Atef, was caught in a Lashkar safehouse at Faislabad in Pakistan.[6][96]
  • A news report in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the U.S. has indicated that the outfit provides individuals for the outer circle of bin Laden’s personal security.[citation needed]
  • Other notable al-Qaeda operatives said to have received instruction and training in LeT camps include David Hicks, Richard Reid and Dhiren Barot.[96]

Jaish-e-Mohammed

News reports, citing security forces, said that the latter suspect that in the December 13, 2001 attack on India’s Parliament in New Delhi, a joint group from the LeT and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) were involved. The attack precipitated the 2001-2002 India-Pakistan standoff.

Hizb-ul-Mujahideen

The Lashkar is reported to have conducted several of its major operations in tandem with the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.

Ties to attacks in the United States

  • The Markaz campus at Muridke in Lahore, its headquarters, was used as a hide-out for both Ramzi Yousef, involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and Mir Aimal Kansi, convicted and executed for the January 1993 killing of two Central Intelligence Agency officers outside the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.[97]
  • A group of men dubbed the Virginia Jihad Network attended LeT training camps and were convicted in 2006 of conspiring to provide material support to the LeT.[98] The leader of the group, Ali al-Timimi, urged the men to attend the LeT camps and to “go abroad to join the mujahideen engaged in violent jihad in Afghanistan.” The men also trained with weapons in Virginia.[99]
  • Two U.S. citizens, Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Sadequee were arrested in 2006 for attempting to join LeT. Ahmed traveled to Pakistan in July 2005 to attend a terrorist training camp and join LeT. The men also shot videos of U.S. landmarks in the Washington, D.C. area for potential terrorist attacks. They were convicted in Atlanta during the summer of 2009 for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.[100]
  • U.S. citizen Ahmad Abousamra was indicted in November 2009 for providing material support to terrorists. He allegedly went to Pakistan in 2002 to join the Taliban and LeT, but failed.[101]

See also

References

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